Why so much hate for Dragon Age 2?

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Funny you should ask since I am in the middle of a playthrough just now.

It isn't a terrible game but it could have done quite a few things far better. Lazy level design is pretty unforgivable and using the same 3 maps over and over again and expecting us not to notice is pretty bad.

Narratively it was in too much of a hurry to kill Hawke's family off to really feel the impact of losing them. The first sibling dies before you even get a chance to know them. Kinda makes it hard to feel any impact. Their home is destroyed but you never saw it or how they lived so that is meaningless. Kirkwall as a city makes little sense. The lore has it that the veil is thinner there than almost anywhere else so of course the best thing to do is keep a circle of mages there. Nothing bad can happen from having a bunch of people who are sensitive and vulnerable to demonic possession in a place where the demons find it easiest to contact them right? Right? The Viscount was a weakling who should have been deposed years earlier. Lastly, Anders could not have been more obvious as a ticking timebomb if he was carrying a sign saying as much. Just ignoring that made no sense at all from a story writing perspective.

The game worked real hard at pretending your choices mattered then through the futility of actually believing that straight into your face. That attitude works well in a novel but not in a game. I feel now as then that the story fit a novel better than a game and it may have even been the original intent.

It IS fun, if extremely repetitive. I'm getting through with my playthroughs now better than before but without all the repetitive filler combat it is less than a third of the length of Origins. And far more poorly written as a game.

Don't get me wrong i don't hate dragon age 2 I am disappointed in dragon age 2. dragon age 2 was probably one of the biggest let downs of my gaming life. after immediately coming off dragon age origins and all its dlc i was expecting a lot from dragon age 2 what i got was rushed out mess. its not a bad game its just so obviously a rush job. the game felt incredibly short by bioware standards, the story while interesting really did not start going anywhere until the last acts and even then it leaves on a dam cliff hanger, the game was horribly padded, the game play felt watered down from the origins. the game it self does not even feel connected to dragon age origin aside from random characters from origins just showing up for fan service and leaving the plot before anything good happens. all in all it games that i had a lot of faith and hope in and it was crushed.

The strength of the Dragon Age:Origins was its tactics. If you were less than diligent you got your arse handed to you. The story was punchy and taut with nasty twists and hard choices, and gear was expensive so every penny mattered. After a while it got easier but boss fights seemed to matter more because they were resource hungry on your potions.

Dragon Age 2 was lazy. The tactics were meh, and while there were a couple of difficult boss fights, they seemed too contrived. There were obvious problems like the reuse of settings. Now I don't have a problem with that in a city setting, and even revisiting a cave is okay provided it isn't reusing the whole area you cleared earlier. The characterization was weaker and while there were some great characters like Varrik who was useful, sympathetic, and good company there was also Isabella who should have been great but was just an annoying slut. I also lacked a sense that the henchman characters grew in any dimension other than their power.

I think DA2 suffered from trying to make itself both similar and different, but the way this was done was by nerfing the mechanics that you knew and loved, destroying the sense of continuity, while essentially adding nothing new to the mix. I didn't like the way that rogues lost the option of dual wielding more than daggers, when the original allowed more, not less, and the new spells were not exciting or overly useful.

There was also the problem that if you played a mage character that somehow YOU were at your liberty while every other mage was locked in the Chantry, AND you dealt with the templars, AND they could hardly not pick you as a mage, AND they did nothing about it.

It wasn't that there weren't elements of the game that I liked, but it was disappointing that it was worse than the DLC which was quite interesting.

I find DA2 a mixed bag, I prefer the art style of DA2(especially with the elves), The Characters(I <3 Merrill), and the combat style while different is also really good and satisfying.
DA:O had the better story, setting and conflict, with the combat being more tactical and slower but also satisfying.

Personally these are both very good RPGs that are awesome, and although I think DA 2 edges out DA:O there both superb.

DA2 has great fight animations, the graphics were good and the story setting was pleasent. However it was too linear; the stages were recycled; and overall it never felt like a true sequel to DA1

I didn't like how railroaded the plot was. Sure you get a dialogue choice, which usually boils down to Nice Guy/Smart Ass/Asshole reactions, but frequently the end result wasn't any different at all. The end result of the quest was still predecided, and the only "difference" your choice really made, was which group involved got pissed at you, and which one liked you.

For example

It has a really terrible ending and a lot of the combat basically amounts to "IT'S RAINING MOOKS!"... Also the game really hits its highpoint for player narrative control and drama at the end of Act 2 rather than the end of Act 3...

But generally I dunno... I actually like Dragon Age 2... Varric is one of my all time favorite characters and the combat is really fun, if the Story didn't get kinda crappy in Act 3 it would be one of my all time favorites.

It was published by EA and people will hate the elixir of life If the EA logo was on it.

Ignoring that probably the weaker story and less memorable characters but Its a great game on its own when compared to Origins Its merely good

Frozengale:
Origins isn't that great of a game. But for some reason everyone loves it to death. Dragon Age 2 was a rushed sequel which switched things up and angered the nerds. CHANGE BAD! That's all you need to know for why people hate Dragon Age 2.

Honestly I found Dragon Age 2 to be more interesting then Dragon Age : Origins. Origins felt like I was picking up an encyclopedia, lots of interesting stuff explained in a boring contrived manner. Dragon Age 2 felt more like one of those crappy Fantasy books. Where a lot of the time it misses the mark, but sometimes it just does something so interesting that you sit there and go... well that was actually fun.

Both have flaws a plenty, but I tend to overlook DA2 flaws because the parts that work in DA2 are so fantastic and fun. Where as DA:O while interesting and a good experience tends to trudge through mediocrity.

The way I like to see it is that anyone that prefers Origins to DA2 hates things that are fun and interesting.

In all honesty, I like them both. But DA2 holds a special place in my heart for being the first game to create a character that I actually found interesting and endearing.

It is not only change bad. It is the fact that the story was stupid and not cohesive at all. The characters also weren't nearly as good. Varic was pretty cool and everyone else was meh. Origins was just better in every aspect other than the combat.

Gameguy20100:
It was published by EA and people will hate the elixir of life If the EA logo was on it.

Ignoring that probably the weaker story and less memorable characters but Its a great game on its own when compared to Origins Its merely good

Dragon Age: Origins has EA on it and people loved that, and people loved mass effect minus 10 minutes.

It's not that bad, it's just not what I expected from a dragon age sequel. If it were marketed as a spin off I think it would have fared much better. On the positive side, the combat is much improved, as are the skill trees and friendship system. I thought it was silly how in Origins you could dump a bunch of gifts onto a companion and suddenly be in bed with them, lol.

|Sith|Eldarion:

And at last, we come to the last straw. The end of the line. The point of no forgiveness. The Darkspawn design. WHAT. THE. FUCK. They used to be scary. They used to have complex models that were interesting to look at. They used to have a bestial cunning, a dark humor in their laughs. Now they have straight, pearly white teeth, dead eyes, Genlocks and Shrieks have been completely scrapped, and they don't even have the appearance of something that's tainted. I'm sure the intent was for them to be more like a horde of insects, but it looks more like a horde of coked up bums with excellent dental hygiene.

You saw coked up bums?

You're lucky, the 'waddle into combat with legs splayed' animation reminded me of my brother with a full nappy.

jklinders:
It isn't a terrible game but it could have done quite a few things far better. Lazy level design is pretty unforgivable and using the same 3 maps over and over again and expecting us not to notice is pretty bad.

(...)

It IS fun, if extremely repetitive.

These points are more or less what I didn't much like about the game, especially when compared to how rich Origins was. The lack of customization was something I also missed, even though I ended up liking the fully voiced player character a la Mass Effect. Overall, I enjoyed DA2 for its story (I liked that there was a time progression, where you grew older, got known in the town, went from some kind of indentured servant to owning a mansion) and at the time I first played it I was more forgiving of it. I'm easily pleased as long as I'm having fun, I guess, but even then it was hard not to complain some about the fact you never go anywhere at all outside of the same three maps and exploring new places is usually one of my favorite things.

i love the nightmare mode and what really broke the game for me was, how little flexibility you had there.
all the little changes cumulated to a point, where you had to run with the same party all the time(depended on your main chars class)
in DAO you had so many options, i've played it with so many different groups and most chars could make an impact of their own.
I've played it with all melee, all ranged or max crowd control groups and they all work.
DA2 is reduced to the common MMO Problem, DPS FTW ;)
DPS is everything, you shouldnt use more than one melee char because of friendly fire and a healer is, at least for the harder fights, mandatory.
Whatever class you play, it comes down to: beating the shit out of everything, as fast as possible.

i could rant on for pages, but ...

i still like the game, but it could have been so much more.

thejboy88:
Ever since it was released, Dragon Age 2 has received a great deal of criticism, both from fans of the original DA game and from those who were introduced to the franchise via this one. Some say it's a less-than-worthy sequel. Some say the combat is all just button-mashing. And some have their own reasons.

And while I personallyl ike the game (though am more than willing to admit that it has it's fair share of flaws), it's when I start hearing comments like "it's the worst game ever" or "there's nothing good about this game" that I decide to draw the line.

So, I want people to tell me what specifically they dislike about this game.

The first game was pretty amazing (standard stuff, but done really well) and the second involved tons of repeated content and a dull overarching story that absolutely fails to draw a player in. I'll quote some dude I listened to a podcast to (he was a BioWare fan too, was a TOR podcast) that nailed down what's wrong the most with the game "I'm 20 hours in and I still have no idea what the hell I'm doing".

So, worst game ever? No, not that far. One of the worst sequels as compared to the previous game? You betcha.

Dragon Age 2 isn't the "worst game ever." Not by a long shot. The main problem with the game is that it is not up to expectations of Bioware, especially after Dragon Age: Origins.

Imagine going to a very nice restaurant. The first time you're there, you order an absolutely superb piece of lasagna. It is perfect. The bolognese is thick, meaty and flavorful without being too salty. The cheese is perfectly fresh, and the noodles themselves are cooked perfectly. There is a bit of burning on the edges, making a couple of the noodles a bit too crispy, but overall it is a fantastic piece of lasagna.

Now the second you go back, you decide that you loved the lasagna so much that you're going to have it again. You hear that they are trying some new things with the lasagna. Which is good. Competition breeds innovation, and trying something new is never a bad thing provided the quality is still there. And the you get your lasagna...

The bolognese is salty, and clearly from a can. The noodles were very much not in the water for long enough, and in the oven for too long. They added in some sausage, chicken, bacon and, surprisingly, some zucchini and spinach for the filling along with the ricotta, mozzerella and provolone mixture, and that works very well. But the tomato sauce, bolognese and noodles are not good. The tomato sauce is nothing more than heated paste, the bolognese is clearly from a can, and the noodles are overcooked.

Overall, it's still a decent piece of lasagna, and there are some things that they tried that worked very well, but they didn't keep up their standards of quality everywhere else, and the entire meal suffered for it.

That second piece of lasagna is exactly what Dragon Age 2 is.

I can barely class it as a game, never mind a sequel to Dragon Age: Origins

You know, I would have been completely fine with 90% of the game taking place in Kirkwall if they had made Kirkwall larger and have it feel like a city.

If you've ever played guild wars 2, think about Divinity's Reach. That place felt like a real city, with tons of people and tall buildings with it seeming like something was happening on every block, which are all reasons why urban settings are my favourite in most games.

Kirkwall feels more like a quiet hamlet in the ass end of Saskatchawan most of the time.

Even in DAO, Denerim felt like a larger and more lively city than Kirkwall and we don't even spend all that much time in there.

Requia:

ThingWhatSqueaks:
I don't hate Dragon Age 2. Like several other games from recent memory the word I'm most likely to chose when describing it is "disappointed". Disappointed because to me there shouldn't be a reason for a sequel to be that much worse than the original. The most basic way in which it was worse was that it was three shorter games with little real connectivity or stakes mashed up into one single game. In Dragon Age: Origins the world demanded that the player character and only the player character be the one to sort shit out. In Dragon Age 2 the issues (gold farming, kicking out a foreign invading force and stopping some rogue mages) are ones that don't feel epic (especially the fucking gold farming) and in the 2nd and 3rd chapters are stuff that I'd actually kind of expect the city guards to sort out. In short there isn't much in the way of compelling conflict. Combine that with an epic amount of backtracking and companions that are either major revisions to their previous incarnations or 2D cutouts and you've got a very disappointing game. See, there's that word again.

This sounds refreshing actually. I'm getting sick of saving the world.

Yep, you're just saving a city from eating itself alive...which ends up turning into a "Save the WORLD" thingy after the game ended.

On topic, I actually prefer it to Origins, mostly because the combat felt more interesting to me. I do admit that the story is weaker, and the level design...well, I get the feeling stating my opinion on (I)that(/I) would ruin my perfect forums record...Besides, the gold farming was easy as pie with my large amount of MMO experience and general RPG skills. Those early quests paid out WAY too much for the effort involved.

My problems with Dragon Age 2:
1) The first game played like a real time strategy.
The second played like an action arcade.

2) The first had RPG elements of your character allowed for customization.
The second had bottle-necked choices where you picked the other choice your next level up before you had access to the next two choices. Or something. I didn't even play it long enough to figure it out.

3) Every battle in DA2 involved like 10 guys you eventually killed and then the same 10 guys would attack you before the encounter finished. Strategy? None.

4) Too many cutscenes where I was constantly stopped in what I was doing to show me what I should be doing instead. Again, my memory is vague but I kept being told by the game to stop playing. So I did.

Vrach:
"I'm 20 hours in and I still have no idea what the hell I'm doing".

So, worst game ever? No, not that far. One of the worst sequels as compared to the previous game? You betcha.

Yes. I loved DAO because it was retro and did it very well. Good turn based combat that you could speed up if you wanted to. I played DA2 as far as the first expedition to the deeproads and then just gave up. I hadn't a clue what was going on plot-wise and the combat just seemed...boring to me and severely lacking in depth.

If you like it cool and good for you but I like so many others, was supremely disappointed in this game.

Honestly, I thoroughly enjoy DA2. I like the characters, and I enjoy the combat.

However, there are a lot of flaws; the ones that stand out for me are:
- The re-use of environments comes up often, and I can't ignore it myself- it really ruins the tension of a companion's major side quest to be doing it in the same place you've been to seventeen times before but you're pretending this is a secret passageway which just happens to be identical to that section of the sewers and that cave and that other other secret passageway.
- A few cut scenes are, in some way, lacking- sound is missing, animations seem off, etc. Again, it can really ruin a character-defining or important scene when all of a sudden you're talking to, say, your LI's leg instead of their face. Or when one character- wearing heavy armour- jumps and starts punching another one with no audio.
- It seems to be trying to paint a moral dilemma- "mages are dangerous, but are also people, so what's the right thing to do?" But there are next to no "good" mage characters; and, other than Bethany or (potentially) Hawke, absolutely none of them are good, decent characters who don't create mass destruction with their magic- including a mage-turned-boss who was only turned into a villain just to have another boss. Apparently the writers wanted more virtuous mage characters, but it was too rushed to put them in, which brings me to-
- The NPCs, other than the companions, are too shallow to invoke much in the way of reaction. If you do something in regards to them, you usually do it either because you think Hawke would, or to get friendship/rivalry points- probably not because YOU feel compelled to do it. Writing is Bioware's strongest point, but it was seriously lacking outside of the team.

In fact, the entire game feels very rushed and unfinished. That is probably what almost every complaint about the game can be boiled down to.

It is not a "good" game, in my opinion- there are many issues with quality, and from a studio like Bioware, we've come to expect better. But it's still a game which I enjoy, despite being aware of many of the issues.

(Also I really REALLY dislike the voice for female Hawke. The acting is fine, but the voice itself bothers the hell out of me. But that's just my taste, not a flaw with the game.)

:EDIT: Another thing I disliked was how little the class mattered. You really have to work on a mage character's backstory and "off-screen" events to really feel like they're in any sort of negative situation being an apostate in the mage-hating Templar-ridden Kirkwall.

jklinders:
Funny you should ask since I am in the middle of a playthrough just now.

Funny - so am I. My first one, to be precise, and my progress is not very fast. Being forced to spend most of the first 10-15 hours or so with secondary quests dampened my motivation a bit.

It isn't a terrible game but it could have done quite a few things far better. Lazy level design is pretty unforgivable and using the same 3 maps over and over again and expecting us not to notice is pretty bad.

This is so far my biggest gripe as well. And not only that, they did not even adjust the mini map when some way in a particular level is blocked. I mean, how much work could that have been?

Actually, I dislike the enemies always spawning out of thin air just as much. And that every single fight plays out basically the same. This is just as lazy.

It's all so disappointing, because I really like the premise of the story, it could have made for a really great game. Perhaps I should add here that my disappointment doesn't stem from me loving DA:O, as many others professed here - because I didn't. I found the story, as well as the world, of DA:O uninspired, bland, generic, boring, and level design was not much better... but I digress.
Anyway, here, your hero is not the "chosen one" for a change, and (at least so far) it doesn't seem like you'll have to save the world from the prime evil (like an arch demon who looks like a dragon and is commanding hordes of creatures that look like undead orcs... could it be any more generic?) The mages vs. templars conflict is interesting, resonating very real moral questions, such as liberty vs security. The slavery theme, tightly woven into Kirkwalls history, is equally interesting; imho, ending slavery in some nation would make for a much more compelling story.

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