The faults of DA II

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Tag meine Kolleginnen Escapions. I have recently made another thread talking about DA II, and seeing the all the . . . faults or DA II I figure that we should discuss them. Yet one can not properly talk of the faults without talking about the good so here we go.

My first problem with DA II is that it feels like an obvious beta from the new art style( feels unfinished) the dullness of the quests(golden pantaloons) and the brat with the chip on his shoulder Carver. The Qunari threat is played up in both the trailers and the game yet is defeated in a single duel( way to easy to win). The Mage vs Templar war is rushed, Anders is a complete and utter DUMBASS (I liked him in the first game to :( ), and finally why the hell does Orisino turn into a Harvester.

The good: The combat is more fun than the first game( surprising I know), Mage and Rogue are very fun to play from raining down fire and lighnting from the sky to smite your enemies to disappearing from the otherside of the field and backstabbing an enemy on the other-side of the map (rogue has the most flashy basic fight animation) I like the different effects of the mages staffs, and the companions are (mostly) well written. My favorite quest is the one that involves your mothers death you see both Asmodeus Hawke(my character) and Gamlen(Jackass) both are very distraught and worried and both have very believable reactions at the end of the quest. I also like how the dialogue choices you choose affect your personality and thus modify everything(read in bold) you say in every conversation.

(cough) Welp these are what I think are the Good and Bad of DA II.

The bad....

Boring characters .... All of them apart from Varric and Merill. Varric made me laugh and had an actual personality whereas Merril had a personality of sorts and had some quite amusing lines (do you want a drink? I have ..... water). The rest were as bland as could possibly be, especially Hawke (by fuck was he/she a dull character).

The plot was shit. No ifs, no buts it was just shit. It started off okay, make your fortune and work your way up from the bottom. Act 2 came along and it fell apart. The Qunari threat was about as well done as a blue steak. The final act was so full of nonsense I physically cringed my way through it.

The Mage V's Templars bollocks. All the way through we hear "Mages are good, Templars are bad" with plenty of Mages telling us why this is so. All the way through the game I had Mages trying to kill me (nearly every Mage I encountered happened to be a blood mage despite people telling me they were rare) and every Templar I met was polite and helpful .... That makes sense.... In fact, only 1 single Templar did anything remotely bad .... and that was at the very end .... because she was corrupted by "evil sword" .... made from metal Hawke found in the Deep Roads .... and after Anders had just blown up the Revered Mother .... OF COURSE MEREDITH WOULD BE PISSED, anybody in her position would be. I'd have ordered all the Mages there killed as well.

The re-use of areas, interiors and enemies. It was a half arsed game, end of story. No effort had been put into it and they wanted money from a game with the Dragon Age name. For a company like BioWare this was the laziest game design i've seen from them. It was pathetic.

The art. Badly textured scenery. Half finished character designs. Bland armour/weapons. Incredibly bad landscapes (what you see of them).

I didn't like the combat much. I like to micro manage like in Dragon Age and other RPG's. I find hack and slash combat far too simplistic and i'm not a fan.

Companions. As I said above, I like to micro manage. BioWare saw fit to remove changing companions gear because obviously new people to the series would be completely stumped by that ... lets make things so simple a brain damaged Wombat can understand it .... Like Casey Hudson.

The "What the fuck" moment in the last cut scene. leliana appeared in that scene .... in the save i'd carried over from Origins she was dead. There is Necromancy at work here.

It was an incredibly short game. Compared to the 30+ hours the first playthrough of Origins took me, this game took me 15 and the side quests were shit.

The Good.

It was an incredibly short game. Compared to the 30+ hours I spent enjoying Origins, thankfully this nightmare only lasted 15.

Varric and Merril. They saved the game for me. If it hadn't been for them I wouldn't have pushed through to the end.

In conclusion....

I did not like it.

I shouldn't have played it but I loved Origins and expected more of the same but it was completely different ... and not in a good way. I didn't like a single change they made.

Well the word on the street is they told the team at the last minute their expansion will actually be turned into a full game... oddly enough we ended up with 1/4 of a Dragon Age game, horribly padded out and barely tied together.
But more then that this game was very obviously not made by the team from DA1, for the most part it felt like a JRPG dev was phoned in last minute.

"better combat" - that is an argument for the ages, if one wanted a non-tactical flashy meaningless spam fest then yes DA2 delivers, but if you aren't one with such desires the game is rather disappointing.

The really issue with this game is that, when we talk about "good" and "bad" we're automatically going to compare it Origins, which was an exceptionally good game.

Willinium:
..the brat with the chip on his shoulder Carver.

Actually, I think you've totally missed the mark by making Carver a major complaint. He's fantastically well written and I found him hugely believable, his motivations were solid and as someone who has done it in real life I felt he really captured the mixed emotions of having to deal with a troubled younger sibling.

I can understand people who don't like the character. I don't think you're meant to. He has some admirable traits (which are much more obvious if you invest the time to mitigate his huge starting rivalry score before a certain event) and ultimately he does come through, but yeah.. he's a flawed douche. That doesn't mean he's not excellently written.

Sorry. It's a tiny thing and everyone's going to have their own opinion, I just don't think not liking a character equates to them being a bad character unless its unintentional.

Other things..

* The game is much better balanced. I guess that goes without saying as Origins was atrociously balanced, but it's true. It's a very well balanced game.
* There's actually a lot more legitimate character choice. Although there's fewer options available, they're all much more competitive and there's much less sense of a clear "optimal" build for each class.
* Mages and rogues have already been mentioned, but the real quantum leap is actually in the warrior class. By far the dullest class in origins, it's much more exciting here.
* Certain aspects of the story were actually really interesting. Considering Origins had a story so cliched it could have been written by a brain damaged monkey with a copy of Lord of the Rings, the idea of this kind of evolving story of a group of people slowly amassing influence in a city beset by various disasters is kind of unexpectedly original. The execution sucked, but hey..
* I really liked that your party members seemed to have their own lives. I found that made them much more believable, even when they weren't good characters. That idea that each of them had their own connection to the environment, their own living quarters and activities and so forth made them feel like more than just a schizophrenic hallucination your character was having.

I don't really feel the need to outline the bad. Everyone is capable of doing it. Overall, I agree it comes down to "rushed". The game's file size is a fraction that of Origins, and despite a lot of improvements its really clear that many areas were simply given the bare minimum required to push them out the door.

It wasn't the type of game BioWare set out to make with the Dragon Age series in 2004, namely a modern Baldur's Gate.

DA:O fell just short of the mark and given 3 years and creative freedom I'm sure BioWare would've made a very impressive sequel. Sadly that's not how it works when EA owns your ass.

Rawne1980:

I didn't like the combat much. I like to micro manage like in Dragon Age and other RPG's. I find hack and slash combat far too simplistic and i'm not a fan.

Mr.K.:
Well the word on the street is they told the team at the last minute their expansion will actually be turned into a full game... oddly enough we ended up with 1/4 of a Dragon Age game, horribly padded out and barely tied together.
But more then that this game was very obviously not made by the team from DA1, for the most part it felt like a JRPG dev was phoned in last minute.

"better combat" - that is an argument for the ages, if one wanted a non-tactical flashy meaningless spam fest then yes DA2 delivers, but if you aren't one with such desires the game is rather disappointing.

I've said it before, but on the higher difficulty the game isn't a pushover(on nightmare, anyway) and requires tactical considerations and readjustments during the fights. If you just set your team loose, you'll get a beatdown pretty quickly. I know a lot of people dislike the wave combat, but having to adjust to a new one on-the-fly and have cooldowns to use for later waves is part of what I'd call tactics for a given fight. Calling it a spamfest is slamming the game harder than it deserves, if it's not true for all difficulties.

Other than that, I agree with pretty much everything Rawne said, except I didn't really like Merill all that much. Oh, and a couple of other good things to add; the voice acting was pretty good, at least I thought so and the characters felt more alive, ie "leading their own lives", instead of just being static in one place.

Sp3ratus:
Calling it a spamfest is slamming the game harder than it deserves, if it's not true for all difficulties.

Well I finished it on nightmare and in most battles I was reading emails whilst running around with my mage tanking all the melee guys, the game is set up for retarded play.

every thing about it is worse then dragon age 1 the characters I didn't care for except for varic they ruined ander's
the ending was forced and it didn't make much sense Kirk wall was a boring town it would have been better if they had included more towns from the free marches so there is more choices it should have been at least 3 times as long with the Mage act being built up the whole way through climaxing in an epic battle where all the friends and allies you have made show up to help you 'aka the battle of denhirm in dragon age 1'

more then one cave I was sick of seeing the same cave
Its was a let down in every way possible and the worst part is some of the idea's where good put its was all poorly excuted

Rawne1980:
The bad....

Boring characters .... All of them apart from Varric and Merill. Varric made me laugh and had an actual personality whereas Merril had a personality of sorts and had some quite amusing lines (do you want a drink? I have ..... water). The rest were as bland as could possibly be, especially Hawke (by fuck was he/she a dull character).

The plot was shit. No ifs, no buts it was just shit. It started off okay, make your fortune and work your way up from the bottom. Act 2 came along and it fell apart. The Qunari threat was about as well done as a blue steak. The final act was so full of nonsense I physically cringed my way through it.

The Mage V's Templars bollocks. All the way through we hear "Mages are good, Templars are bad" with plenty of Mages telling us why this is so. All the way through the game I had Mages trying to kill me (nearly every Mage I encountered happened to be a blood mage despite people telling me they were rare) and every Templar I met was polite and helpful .... That makes sense.... In fact, only 1 single Templar did anything remotely bad .... and that was at the very end .... because she was corrupted by "evil sword" .... made from metal Hawke found in the Deep Roads .... and after Anders had just blown up the Revered Mother .... OF COURSE MEREDITH WOULD BE PISSED, anybody in her position would be. I'd have ordered all the Mages there killed as well.

The re-use of areas, interiors and enemies. It was a half arsed game, end of story. No effort had been put into it and they wanted money from a game with the Dragon Age name. For a company like BioWare this was the laziest game design i've seen from them. It was pathetic.

The art. Badly textured scenery. Half finished character designs. Bland armour/weapons. Incredibly bad landscapes (what you see of them).

I didn't like the combat much. I like to micro manage like in Dragon Age and other RPG's. I find hack and slash combat far too simplistic and i'm not a fan.

Companions. As I said above, I like to micro manage. BioWare saw fit to remove changing companions gear because obviously new people to the series would be completely stumped by that ... lets make things so simple a brain damaged Wombat can understand it .... Like Casey Hudson.

The "What the fuck" moment in the last cut scene. leliana appeared in that scene .... in the save i'd carried over from Origins she was dead. There is Necromancy at work here.

It was an incredibly short game. Compared to the 30+ hours the first playthrough of Origins took me, this game took me 15 and the side quests were shit.

The Good.

It was an incredibly short game. Compared to the 30+ hours I spent enjoying Origins, thankfully this nightmare only lasted 15.

Varric and Merril. They saved the game for me. If it hadn't been for them I wouldn't have pushed through to the end.

In conclusion....

I did not like it.

I shouldn't have played it but I loved Origins and expected more of the same but it was completely different ... and not in a good way. I didn't like a single change they made.

the worse thing is dragon age 1 showed a good reason with the mage's , the templers and you could feel for both sides but dragon age 2 ruined that by making every mage a blood mage

The Good - I liked the characters, I thought the story was fine, the combat was alright, but it could have been better. It plays like a PC game for sure.

The bad - all of the story can be seen on YouTube without you even trying the game yourself. The options for romance, all of it can be seen on YouTube. I sold this game and Mass Effect 2 back because the point of playing DA 2 and ME 2 is the story, not the gameplay. If DA 2 played more like Dragon's Dogma, or Kingdoms of Amalur, then I'd still have it, and I'd say it was a great game. But the combat isn't "all that".

Mr.K.:

Sp3ratus:
Calling it a spamfest is slamming the game harder than it deserves, if it's not true for all difficulties.

Well I finished it on nightmare and in most battles I was reading emails whilst running around with my mage tanking all the melee guys, the game is set up for retarded play.

The best way to get through the game was generally to beat the first wave then turn on a god mode trainer and do something more entertaining for the next 10 minute while the AI smacked each other around in the wave combat.

Dragon Age 2 isn't a bad game. It's just a rushed game. It had something of a record setting short development cycle. I have no idea why they turned it around so fast...maybe EA was burning the office down and everyone had to finish up and run for their lives. Almost everything that goes wrong can be attributed to a lack of time.

1. Re-used environments. Classic sign of cut corners and a rushed development.
2. Plots that feel under-developed/rushed to their conclusion, causing strange pacing issues.
3. Characters that feel under-developed, are missing motivations, and/or are missing their arc.
4. Combat that is mechanically sound but is weighted down by lackluster or underdeveloped encounters.

And on and on. The sad thing is, there's actually the framework for a really GOOD game there. A better game than Origins, by far, and Origins was a solid (if somewhat over-praised) title. But you can't cut a game that close to the bone and expect to earn a lot of accolades. I actually think the staff should be commended for giving us something functional...this could easily have been Ultima IX bad. It could have been unplayable, riddled with ghastly bugs, or an utterly nonsensical story.

As DA3 is actually getting a sane development time, I'm hoping for a strong bounceback effort. As long as they can avoid cramming in any ghostly kids or absurd MacGuffins at the 11th hour, it should be the best Dragon Age to date, and a top notch RPG all around (if perhaps a bit streamlined for the 90's crowd). If it's not, we'll know that Bioware is well and truly dead, and transfer the last of our affections to a more worthy developer just in time for them to get purchased by EA too.

BloatedGuppy:
Dragon Age 2 isn't a bad game. It's just a rushed game. It had something of a record setting short development cycle. I have no idea why they turned it around so fast...maybe EA was burning the office down and everyone had to finish up and run for their lives. Almost everything that goes wrong can be attributed to a lack of time.

1. Re-used environments. Classic sign of cut corners and a rushed development.
2. Plots that feel under-developed/rushed to their conclusion, causing strange pacing issues.
3. Characters that feel under-developed, are missing motivations, and/or are missing their arc.
4. Combat that is mechanically sound but is weighted down by lackluster or underdeveloped encounters.

And on and on. The sad thing is, there's actually the framework for a really GOOD game there. A better game than Origins, by far, and Origins was a solid (if somewhat over-praised) title. But you can't cut a game that close to the bone and expect to earn a lot of accolades. I actually think the staff should be commended for giving us something functional...this could easily have been Ultima IX bad. It could have been unplayable, riddled with ghastly bugs, or an utterly nonsensical story.

As DA3 is actually getting a sane development time, I'm hoping for a strong bounceback effort. As long as they can avoid cramming in any ghostly kids or absurd MacGuffins at the 11th hour, it should be the best Dragon Age to date, and a top notch RPG all around (if perhaps a bit streamlined for the 90's crowd). If it's not, we'll know that Bioware is well and truly dead, and transfer the last of our affections to a more worthy developer just in time for them to get purchased by EA too.

Get a head start, transfer your affections to CD Projekt now so you have more time to bask in the glow before it gets stomped out! :P

But you can't cut a game that close to the bone and expect to earn a lot of accolades.

And of course you can, if you want the accolades from the escapist reviewers! :3

The Bad: They made it in one year.

The Good: It still turned out to be a decent game.

It's really quite that simple, you can't make a great game of Dragon Age caliber in one year. Had they taken two years, it would have been much better. The fact it came out as a playable game at all is a testament to skill of the general employees at Bioware.

Willinium:

The good: The combat is more fun than the first game( surprising I know), Mage and Rogue are very fun to play from raining down fire and lighnting from the sky to smite your enemies to disappearing from the otherside of the field and backstabbing an enemy on the other-side of the map (rogue has the most flashy basic fight animation) I like the different effects of the mages staffs, and the companions are (mostly) well written. My favorite quest is the one that involves your mothers death you see both Asmodeus Hawke(my character) and Gamlen(Jackass) both are very distraught and worried and both have very believable reactions at the end of the quest. I also like how the dialogue choices you choose affect your personality and thus modify everything(read in bold) you say in every conversation.

(cough) Welp these are what I think are the Good and Bad of DA II.

See, I disagree with most of your good points there. The combat was flashy, sure, but as a Rogue (I could barely even play through the game once) all I did was jump 30 feet into the air and jam my knives into someone's eyes, then jump to another guy and do the same over and over while random "reinforcements" rained from the heavens (literally leaping to the ground from the clouds above) over and over. There was extremely little strategy to it - in fact, even on the hardest difficulty the only time I had to plan out where I was positioning my squad was during that fight with the big rock-golem-thing. Everything else I would try to set them up for some strategy and then they would be flanked by the second of five waves, thereby turning the whole thing into a giant melee. There wasn't any real strategy behind it, and the fun was extremely short lived once I had jumped to the thousandth guy in a row.

As for the characters, with the exceptions of Aveline and Varric, I found them to be extremely bland and uninteresting stereotypes of common Fantasy characters. Seriously, it's really difficult to come up with meaningful descriptors for most of the characters. Anders was a gay mage with the hots for you; that was his entire personality. Sure there was more to his character than that, but you say "gay mage" and that's what you get out of him. Bethany was a mage. Fenris was an Elf Slave, with a hint of JRPG to go along with it. Isabela was a pirate. Or a pirate whore, if you wanted to go there. Sebastian was a prince with a bow. Merrill had some more to her, but not much. She's a blood-mage elf with the personality of your stereotypical insecure teenage girl and not much more. They all can be boiled down to that, and if you've never played the game in your life you could be told those descriptors and you'd be able to guess essentially their entire personalities and stories from the get-go. That's not good writing.

Aveline and Varric stand out from that rather bland crop of characters. Aveline has conflict from the loss of her husband, her conflicts between your friendship/loyalty and the orders of her superiors, her own sense of moralities, and it shows when she argues with you or tries to stop you from doing things, but also when she decides to give in and go along with your plans. She's complicated, unlike the rest of them, and that goes a long way in making her a good character. Varric is a stubborn dwarf with a grudge, which tells you most of the things you need to know, but the combination of his voice actor and his development throughout the game give him an edge over the other characters.

The only really good part that I got from that game was that it had the potential to be spectacular. The ideas behind everything were excellent; the characters, the storylines, everything could have fit together well and made for an epic story. But it failed on so many levels, for me anyway, that I just can't say there's a single truly exceptional part about it. Maybe the leveling system and the abilities, which I liked more than DA:O, but that's really about it.

Everything Rawne said:

Rawne1980:
The bad.... Snip

+ I would add the origins, godamit I hate hawke, why shepardize my main character damit !!!, I wanted to have choices as a origin, more than in DAO.

Then...... truth been told, I started playing DAO and after I reached Flemeth hut I felt the the story/battle system/ect. was great, but the graphics were absolutely and totaly shit, so i had to stop playing and dowload a fucking ton of mods to play the game, if the game couldn't be moded I prolly had lost interes cause well, it looked horribly.

The good:

1. Character Interactions.
2. Well done voice acting.

The bad:

1. Recycled everything.
2. Combat.
3. Disjointed 2nd and 3rd act.
4. Not thought out Mage vs. Templar dynamic.
5. Severe change in Ander's character. Not only between DAOA, but during the game... without any real cause. He is even bipolar within conversations (no I don't mean with Justice)

The two good points came together to form something that kept me playing the game, I was willing to slog through the awful combat and story and story pacing just to get to the conversations with team members and to hear their banter while exploring.

The skills/abilities system in DA2 was better than DAO, not as varied sure, but you didn't end up with multiple versions of the same spell cluttering your menus.

Who wants Walking Bomb and Virulent Walking Bomb? Virulent should be an upgrade to the original spell.

Varric and Aveline were also good, and the scenes with Bethany/Carver were fine. Probably because Bioware wasn't concerned with trying to shoehorn in a romance subplot.

Mr.K.:
Well the word on the street is they told the team at the last minute their expansion will actually be turned into a full game... oddly enough we ended up with 1/4 of a Dragon Age game, horribly padded out and barely tied together.
But more then that this game was very obviously not made by the team from DA1, for the most part it felt like a JRPG dev was phoned in last minute.

"better combat" - that is an argument for the ages, if one wanted a non-tactical flashy meaningless spam fest then yes DA2 delivers, but if you aren't one with such desires the game is rather disappointing.

The only reason that tactics are meaningless is because of the spawning enemies ruining any plans you had. The mechanics themselves though are just plain better.

As for the "spam fest," I believe auto-attack was an option that had to be enabled for some dumb reason. Though I've barely touched the game since I finished it the first time so I could be wrong. It was a stupid idea to not make it the default but it's still there.

Mr.K.:
Well the word on the street is they told the team at the last minute their expansion will actually be turned into a full game... oddly enough we ended up with 1/4 of a Dragon Age game, horribly padded out and barely tied together.

What was DA:Awakening then?

But more then that this game was very obviously not made by the team from DA1, for the most part it felt like a JRPG dev was phoned in last minute.

So did anyone actually check the credits and compared it to previous games?

ThriKreen:

Mr.K.:
Well the word on the street is they told the team at the last minute their expansion will actually be turned into a full game... oddly enough we ended up with 1/4 of a Dragon Age game, horribly padded out and barely tied together.

What was DA:Awakening then?

The idea is that Awakening was designed as an Expansion, but it became so big it could almost be it's own game, Bioware were working on addons/expansions for Origins when they suddenly switched gear and began making a new game, before Witch Hunt came out they began to talk about an Awakening-esque expanson but quickly shut up about it. It's rumoured that DA2 was that expansion and they decided they could turn it into a full game if they expanded it. Sadly they only got 15 months to develop the game, and as a new game with a new art style they couldn't save time by reusng art assets.

No one knows if it's true or not but it does make a lot of sense.

Chiming in as another member of the "Actually Really Liked DA2" Squad.

Well, before I say anything, I've gotta admit that DA2 had some serious, serious issues. I could stomach the repeated environments the first time through, but they became unbearable on subsequent playthroughs. And yeah, the plot completely goes to hell in Act III, though there's still some interesting stuff going on there.

However, the main reason I stick up for DA2 is that it's the first Bioware game in forever that wasn't structured exactly like every other Bioware game. Quick, name this game: you start off in a fairly peaceful setting, but stumble upon a bad guy's plan, and in the course of getting involved discover/gain some unique power that only you have. Then you travel around, meeting new companions and seeing new sights and doing tons of sidequests, until, about halfway through the game, there's a sudden dramatic twist/revelation that casts a new light on everything you've done since the beginning. Then you do some more stuff, eventually returning to the major city you've been operating out of to confront the villain in the heart of your civilization's power.

If you answered Baldur's Gate, Knights of the Old Republic, Jade Empire, Mass Effect, or Dragon Age: Origins, you are correct.

DA2 broke that mold by basing the plot around a single location over the course of several years, telling the story of Hawke and Co. as they matured and built lives for themselves. Instead of being a straightforward adventure, it was more about how a series of events shaped these peoples' lives, and the city of Kirkwall. It was really more like something Obsidian would have come up with, and I'm one of those suckers who's willing to overlook the major flaw that every Obsidian game has because the writing's always fantastic.

Now, again, everything kind of fell apart in the third act, but at least we'll always have the awesome look into Qunari culture and philosophy from Act II.

Also, I thought that each of the party members--well, except for Isabella and Sephirelf--were pretty interesting and well-written. Varric was just great: always useful to have around and usually a fun addition to conversations. Ditto Aveline. Merril was unique: an obvious "cute geek girl" nerd-bait character a la Tali, but one who was so blindingly naive that you couldn't help but hate her. And then there's Anders, who, while he might have been a creepy, mentally unbalanced idiot, was at least interesting. (Plus, if you brought him along with Varric and Isabella anywhere, it was basically a nonstop snark-fest.)

Plus, a bit of fridge brilliance: I thought it was stupid and ridiculous how many enemies would come pouring in to fight every time you got into a skirmish, too. And then I realized that the whole game was framed by Varric retelling the story to the inquisitor; he was just embellishing the insane amounts of violence to punch it up a bit.

Echoing everyone else above, I think if EA had actually given the devs enough time and money to make a proper sequel, the general consensus on the game would be very different. As it is, it's a game with a lot of interesting ideas, most of which never really got to be fleshed out.

And now that the "A" team is back from making The Old Republic, we can expect DA3 to fall right back into the usual Bioware formula. Yay.

Janus Vesta:
No one knows if it's true or not but it does make a lot of sense.

Hrm, no one knows if it's true or not, eh? Are you sure they only got 15 months? Because most games usually go through several months to a year of prototyping/pre-production before it's even announced, to decide on what they'll be doing, and in the case of sequels, usually starts before the lockdown phase of production - since during that phase it's mostly just polishing and bug fixing, with team members splinter off into the sequel/expansion/DLC groups.

Kavonde:
And now that the "A" team is back from making The Old Republic, we can expect DA3 to fall right back into the usual Bioware formula. Yay.

Which "A"-team is that?

The one thing that was a complete and utter deal breaker for me is that I quickly realized that this was not a proper, finished product. It felt raw and I did not enjoy playing it, and I did not enjoy Russian mail order dominatrix and beardless dwarf. I did not enjoy the actual game play changes, as it did not exactly feel like a second installment of the Dragon Age franchise, but rather a cheap and hurried World of Warcraft knockoff, hacked together by someone that wanted a bit more of that Ninja gaiden or whatever spice in it. So, obviously, I have no insight as to what happens later in the game, but I found everything right from booting it up quite offensive and a huge letdown, which had a severe impact on my opinion as to what to further expect from Bioware/EA.

I did not enjoy the fighting, which is quite an important component of such a game. While I eventually found my pacing, I still did not have 'fun' or felt in control of things. The NPC banter annoyed me and, at times, confused me and I just couldn't properly connect to them. Everything they said annoyed me. I don't get the fun bit of shaving a dwarf. I don't see the point of running my party along the walls of a rather narrow invisible tunnel, and I found the whole trip to be very unappealing. The way they butchered the characters and raped the lore gave me conclusive evidence that the whole purpose of this game was to piss me off. Not in a Dark Souls way, which can actually be enjoyed by a slight shift of focus and stance. More in a way of making me pay for something I believe I want and I believe I will enjoy, and then blowing raspberries at me for hours, just because I was dumb enough for believing, actually wanting to believe I'd get some more of that Dragon Age love. I felt betrayed and did what EA obviously wanted me to do, I burnt the vile thing on the pyre it truly deserved.

Mr.K.:

Sp3ratus:
Calling it a spamfest is slamming the game harder than it deserves, if it's not true for all difficulties.

Well I finished it on nightmare and in most battles I was reading emails whilst running around with my mage tanking all the melee guys, the game is set up for retarded play.

Choosing to cheese encounters and then calling it easy seems a bit... contradictory.

Sexy Devil:
The only reason that tactics are meaningless is because of the spawning enemies ruining any plans you had. The mechanics themselves though are just plain better.

As for the "spam fest," I believe auto-attack was an option that had to be enabled for some dumb reason. Though I've barely touched the game since I finished it the first time so I could be wrong. It was a stupid idea to not make it the default but it's still there.

Auto attack was on by default on the PC version and was only later introduced on the consoles.

I don't entirely agree with your assessment of tactics being useless. You have initial tactics for the first wave and when each additional wave spawns, you have to tweak those tactics to deal with the new threat. To me, repositioning and cooldown management is part of the tactics to get you through an encounter. So while I agree with you that initial planning is not nearly as useful as it was in DA:O, I still think there are important tactical considerations for each battle.

Apollo45:
See, I disagree with most of your good points there. The combat was flashy, sure, but as a Rogue (I could barely even play through the game once) all I did was jump 30 feet into the air and jam my knives into someone's eyes, then jump to another guy and do the same over and over while random "reinforcements" rained from the heavens (literally leaping to the ground from the clouds above) over and over. There was extremely little strategy to it - in fact, even on the hardest difficulty the only time I had to plan out where I was positioning my squad was during that fight with the big rock-golem-thing. Everything else I would try to set them up for some strategy and then they would be flanked by the second of five waves, thereby turning the whole thing into a giant melee. There wasn't any real strategy behind it, and the fun was extremely short lived once I had jumped to the thousandth guy in a row.

Really? You never had to move your mage/healer away from where the reinforcements were coming from? You never had to use Barrier on your rogue getting oneshotted by assassins? You never had to use any CC or take out a dangerous enemy quickly(like the aforementioned assassins)? Cross-class combos? Silencing mages? Using any of those is using tatics to defeat an encounter.

I'll believe you if you say so, my own experience with nightmare just made it seem like simply allowing the AI to take over without tactics or any direction whatsoever didn't seem to be all that effective, without resorting to cheesing.

Sp3ratus:
Really? You never had to move your mage/healer away from where the reinforcements were coming from? You never had to use Barrier on your rogue getting oneshotted by assassins? You never had to use any CC or take out a dangerous enemy quickly(like the aforementioned assassins)? Cross-class combos? Silencing mages? Using any of those is using tatics to defeat an encounter.

I'll believe you if you say so, my own experience with nightmare just made it seem like simply allowing the AI to take over without tactics or any direction whatsoever didn't seem to be all that effective, without resorting to cheesing.

Honestly, I didn't really. Sure, there were times where I had to move my mage around - by which I really mean moving him further and further back so he's more out of range of the assassins - and there were times where I got wrecked by a group of assassins, but after that it was as much a matter of realizing they're there and attacking them before they could attack me for the next fight. And yes, those are considered "tactics," like Leeroy Jenkensing into a fight is considered a tactic (one which I used rather successfully within the game). Clicking a single button can be considered a tactic, but there was no strategy to it. As some guy said, I could use the party mage to tank and they would just be able to continually heal themselves. Or I could tank with Aveline, who was so beastly that she just wouldn't die. Or I could let the others do their things and, like I said, jump around like a flea on crack with the Rogue and stab everyone's eyes out. The Rogue was so mobile that most of the time I didn't have to worry about being surrounded or anything. The leap-attack initiation let me bounce around everywhere, and if I ended up with too many guys around me I could just jump to the back line and walk away.

In any of those situations I would use a tactic or two here and there, but they were the most basic of "tactics" and there was no coherent strategy for the fights. No spying ahead, trying to figure out where the enemy would come from, where I could set up choke points, how to position my party, where to fall back to if I needed, where I would drop AOE spells, who I would attack first, and so on. 95% of the fights involved being "ambushed" on the streets by some guys in black, which would devolve into a mess where there were enemies and allies mixed between themselves everywhere, and when I killed those guys a few more waves of the exact same enemies would follow and then it would be over. It didn't matter if I led with my mages or with my tank, didn't matter if I focused the strongest enemies and left the weaklings for later or did the exact opposite. I've used more strategy playing Call of Duty than I had to in DA2. Especially when compared to DA:O, it just failed on the meat of the combat, even if it was flashier.

The good -
Combat was fix - no more '3 mages and a tank, all three mages Arcane Warriors' and proceeding to wipe out everything on the highest difficulty while falling asleep in my chair.

Characters were nice - I really liked all of the characters from DAII; they felt like actual people considering all their adventures with hawke was just side-stuff, and the voice acting was pretty great.

Economy/Talents were fixed - Talents were given a much needed streamline from DA:O, removing some useless ones and buffing up everything left over. Money was fixed up too, so you had some form of wealth for most of the game instead of having barely 2 coppers to rub together until you hit Orzammar. There was also reason to spend money this time round, as opposed to 'Three items that are actually useful, all 80+ gold coins'.

The bad -
Warriors the new mage - While combat was fixed so that mages were nice and balanced, it feels like they gave Warriors a little too much strength - a team of 3 warriors and a healing mage is pretty unstoppable, with just one warrior (DPS or Tank, didn't matter) dramatically altering the tide of battle thanks to the sheer amount of damage they dealt and inability to die easily.

Repetitive environments - sure, I get the whole 'stuck in Kirkwall' so they could re-use environments by revisiting the areas, but when two completely different areas have the exact same map, I get a little annoyed.

Jarring cuts between chapters - I loved the game, but the 'Suddenly 5 years later!' jumps and completely sudden changes in plot focus got a little... weird, and felt very sloppy. While it was nice to see the 'evil artifact of corruption' working on the Templar chick slowly over time instead of instantly, maybe a few bits and pieces between the jumps would have fixed this.

All in All - I really enjoyed the game despite it's flaws. Given the rush job it went through I can forgive the repetitive environments and jarring cuts, and am really hoping that DA:3 with it's longer development time is much better.

Though now I wonder...I wonder if for DA:3 Rogues will be the new OP class?

Drauger:

Then...... truth been told, I started playing DAO and after I reached Flemeth hut I felt the the story/battle system/ect. was great, but the graphics were absolutely and totaly shit, so i had to stop playing and dowload a fucking ton of mods to play the game, if the game couldn't be moded I prolly had lost interes cause well, it looked horribly.

I do have to agree with you here.

I recently went back to play it and put in the Dragon Age redesigned and Immersive mods and it looks far better than it looks far better than it did.

Apollo45:
Honestly, I didn't really.

You're a better player than I am then, I'll admit that.

As some guy said, I could use the party mage to tank and they would just be able to continually heal themselves. Or I could tank with Aveline, who was so beastly that she just wouldn't die.

Healers were quite limited in DA2, compared to DA:O. You had one single heal, one group heal, the health regen aura and potions. All except the health regen aura were on 40 sec cooldowns(30 sec for potion). I'd hardly call that continually healing and being squishy already, I can't really see how you'd use a mage to tank.

...and there were times where I got wrecked by a group of assassins, but after that it was as much a matter of realizing they're there and attacking them before they could attack me for the next fight.

didn't matter if I focused the strongest enemies and left the weaklings for later or did the exact opposite.

Those two quotes seem to be each other a bit. Wouldn't you say that taking down those types of enemies first is a part of the overall strategy?

My overall strategy(the way I use the word) was usually to take out the dangerous enemies first, like assassins or Arcane horrors, since those types can be quite dangerous. To do that, I used different tactics, like focusing on that target, using cooldowns, while my tank were tanking the others until my first target was down. After that, I'd usually take care of the guys with very little health, since they could be pesky for my healer. I thought it mattered quite a lot, choosing what targets to take down(ie the assassins). It did change, depending on the enemy setup, though. Positioning was something you had to adjust to, on the fly and make sure none of the weaker members were in a vulnerable position. Just because it doesn't happen before the fight, doesn't disqualify it from being part of the strategy.

You probably see it differently, but to me, there's strategy involved. We might even disagree on what it means semantically, that might be where the issue is, I don't know.

Also, as an aside, "Leeroy Jenkensing" in WoW might've worked in ordinary dungeons, but in raids, especially heroic ones(or earlier BC ones), doing that wouldn't get you far.

Even though there's little to add I, too, would like to chime in.

One of my biggest complaints is Anders. Or rather what they did to Anders. I really liked him in Awakening; his occasional sardonic quips were rather endearing. In Dragon Age II, however, there was nothing left of Anders' character. I can see what they tried to do, what with his so-called character arc, but they failed miserably.

He started out as a completely different, unlikable character and, after a lot of incoherent meandering, ended up as an even more different, even more unlikable character. The connections to Awakening was tenuous at best and didn't do him any favours. And, to add insult to injury, They also ruined Justice in the process.

Sp3ratus:

Healers were quite limited in DA2, compared to DA:O. You had one single heal, one group heal, the health regen aura and potions. All except the health regen aura were on 40 sec cooldowns(30 sec for potion). I'd hardly call that continually healing and being squishy already, I can't really see how you'd use a mage to tank.

Well, any blood mage could be turned into DAII's equivalent of Arcane Warriors. As you may know auras and buffs only reserved a certain percentage of the character's mana. Thus you could simply cast 'activated' spells from hit points while 'sustained' spells such as Arcane Shield or Rock Armor merely drained your useless mana. Pour all your points into health, equip your blood mage with things like the Talisman of Saarebas or Voracity... et voilą there's your unstoppable tank.

C. Cain:

Sp3ratus:

Healers were quite limited in DA2, compared to DA:O. You had one single heal, one group heal, the health regen aura and potions. All except the health regen aura were on 40 sec cooldowns(30 sec for potion). I'd hardly call that continually healing and being squishy already, I can't really see how you'd use a mage to tank.

Well, any blood mage could be turned into DAII's equivalent of Arcane Warriors. As you may know auras and buffs only reserved a certain percentage of the character's mana. Thus you could simply cast 'activated' spells from hit points while 'sustained' spells such as Arcane Shield or Rock Armor merely drained your useless mana. Pour all your points into health, equip your blood mage with things like the Talisman of Saarebas or Voracity... et voilą there's your unstoppable tank.

Ah, of course. I didn't think of that. I only thought in terms of having a mage specced in Creation and Spirit Healer. Going blood mage tank might be an interesting way to go for when I do another playthrough of DA2.

Sp3ratus:
Healers were quite limited in DA2, compared to DA:O. You had one single heal, one group heal, the health regen aura and potions. All except the health regen aura were on 40 sec cooldowns(30 sec for potion). I'd hardly call that continually healing and being squishy already, I can't really see how you'd use a mage to tank.

I actually found the changes to healing to be the single best change in the game. That and the longer potion cooldowns, it placed much more emphasis on effective tanking and freed up mages to be more versatile in their spellcasting. I think having it so spirit healers couldn't cast offensive spells in healing mode was a bit harsh, but even then if you set up the tactics properly (and the tactics system was genuinely good in DA2) you could have a character automatically switch to healing mode when required.

And yeah, as mentioned.. Blood Mage + Force Mage is an effective tank. Force Mage makes you impossible to knock down. Blood mage lets you get insane health, gives you self-healing and frees up your mana for sustained abilities. Both give you lots of control spells.

C. Cain:
One of my biggest complaints is Anders. Or rather what they did to Anders. I really liked him in Awakening; his occasional sardonic quips were rather endearing. In Dragon Age II, however, there was nothing left of Anders' character. I can see what they tried to do, what with his so-called character arc, but they failed miserably.

Really?

I can see how its a massive change, but I can't see how the character in Awakenings was anything but just.. a mage with ADD.

This is actually the thing which most annoys me about Bioware's writing lately. The overabundance of characters whose only reaction to make smartass comments like they're auditioning for an amateur stageplay version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

It's great when it's meant to come off as shallow or is revealed to be a defense mechanism, but sometimes I get the feeling I'm expected to find it charming or likable. Why? Why would anyone?

Seriously, Awakening in general just.. ugh.. Since when was Oghren a one-note joke about alcoholism? What the fuck is Anders' investment in anything? Why is an ostensibly serious fantasy setting suddenly full of all this goofy shit? Why is the cat called Ser Pounce-a-Lot when there's no Arthurian legend in this setting? Why is my character even here when he died killing the Archdaemon? For that matter, why is Oghren here when I invested all that time rehabilitating him?

Sorry.. I just genuinely don't understand why people slag off Dragon Age 2 when Awakening would barely cut it as an official expansion to a Neverwinter Nights game. Just my opinion, but seriously.. it's weird.

evilthecat:

Really?

I can see how its a massive change, but I can't see how the character in Awakenings was anything but just.. a mage with ADD.

This is actually the thing which most annoys me about Bioware's writing lately. The overabundance of characters whose only reaction to make smartass comments like they're auditioning for an amateur stageplay version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

It's great when it's meant to come off as shallow or is revealed to be a defense mechanism, but sometimes I get the feeling I'm expected to find it charming or likable. Why? Why would anyone?

Seriously, Awakening in general just.. ugh.. Since when was Oghren a one-note joke about alcoholism? What the fuck is Anders' investment in anything? Why is an ostensibly serious fantasy setting suddenly full of all this goofy shit? Why is the cat called Ser Pounce-a-Lot when there's no Arthurian legend in this setting? Why is my character even here when he died killing the Archdaemon? For that matter, why is Oghren here when I invested all that time rehabilitating him?

Sorry.. I just genuinely don't understand why people slag off Dragon Age 2 when Awakening would barely cut it as an official expansion to a Neverwinter Nights game. Just my opinion, but seriously.. it's weird.

I don't necessarily disagree with you as far as your criticisms of Awakening are concerned. Whether Anders was a well rounded or compelling character in the first place is debatable, I give you that. Having said that however, I personally liked him. And, quite frankly, I wouldn't have minded DAII's "Anders" all that much had he been a new, DAII specific, character.

The bad: The combat no longer feels strategic, the class balance is gone, and they replace clever, well-designed encounters with endless waves.
The characters are all unlikable with the exception of Varric and Avaline. (Neither of whom you can put the moves on for some reason)
Merill is a complete idiot and seems to have been put in to appeal to the Talimancers and Japanime fans. (Two groups you want to distance yourself from as much as possible) Isabella has no character outside of being a slut. (You could schtupp her in Origins, so they decided to run with it) Anders went from the fun, likable version of Alistair we saw in Awakening, to a whiny, emo jackass. (Why couldn't they make up a new character, instead of mangling an existing one?) Fenris is just a jackass throughout. The fact that he's androgynous and uses a giant sword seems to be a naked pander to the Final Fantasy fanbase. (You want to distance yourself from that fanbase as much as possible)
You can no longer kit out your companions with armor, because apparently armor management is too complex. (Nobody liked it when they cut it in Space Wizards 2, why would they do it again?)
The events of the story are kind of stupid.
Bullshit Facebook tie-in stuff.
So much out of game unlockable stuff.
Recycled environments.
Hawke having a voice means that they're more pre-defined. It also limits the dialog choices. The wheel doesn't help.
I didn't care for the new art direction, but that's just me, and I tend to dislike change.
The player character is stuck playing as a human (As I've said many times: Playing as a human in a fantasy RPG is like playing as an accountant. It's fine if it's a choice. There are boring people who will take that choice, but don't prevent us from experiencing dwarven glory to save money on voice actors.

The good: Ummm....
Look at the cute kitten!
image

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