Is Dragon Age 2 really that bad? A review to Bioware’s second full game of the series
Before reading, please note that these are solely my opinions. My intentions are never to offend anyone. It is okay to disagree!
I completed the game recently over winter break. Putting it simply, the game lived up to its average expectations. Before starting the game, I heard short reviews on how the game was great as a standalone title, but a huge disappointment as a sequel. I have to agree with these critics.
Saying that, I didn’t absolutely hate the game. It did not frustrate me, and I was able to stay interested from beginning to end. However, “the end” came a whole lot sooner than I thought it would. I played dragon age origins for just about 75 hours, where I played Dragon Age 2 for only 41. This includes completing all the side quests, as well, without any DLC. Even though I did not play the game for nearly as long, I still achieved about the same level for my character as I did with my character for Dragon Age: Origins. You can compare my Dragon Age: Origins character here and my Dragon Age 2 character here. Even though this is true, I expected to be able to master more skills with this character than my Dragon Age: Origins one. I was only barely able to master two skill trees before the end of the game. Even though I had barely any trouble fighting enemies, I felt like I was not truly able to explore my combat styles and abilities because of this. I was forced to sacrifice a variety of “cool moves” for more powerful spells.
When I first entered the game, I instantly noticed the change of graphics. Everything was so much more… colorful. The graphics had been smoothed to give it a more cartoon, poppy look. They brightened up the colors, which seemed to make everything seem more alive, but dumbed down the realism of the graphics at that expense. I got used to this over time, as it gave a unique look to the game that the previous just did not have. I actually came to view the original Dragon Age as the “odd one out” in terms of looks. I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. How visually appealing a game is varies drastically from person to person. One person may think a games visual appearance is absolutely beautiful, while another searches for a mod to change the trashy look. While I enjoyed the vibrancy change, I wasn’t to fond of the actual graphical change. In comparison to Dragon Age: Origins, the game simply did not stick to its look.
Even though the graphics had changed, the characters still looked oddly similar to the first game. Hawke is much more customizable than Cousland, but the looks of the actual character themselves still stuck to its roots. However, characters that appeared from the first game and its expansion were aged drastically- too drastically. They really didn’t look like themselves at all. They are almost not recognizable until they state their names. With this in mind, think of the Wardens and the time period the game takes place during. The game takes place almost right after the Blight ( five to ten years at most), with the beginning tutorial taking place during the Blight. Grey Wardens, after taking part in the joining , only have about 30 years to live before dying. Given the time period of Dragon Age: Origins, Cousland, Alistair, and Anders were all (presumably) in their 20s when they joined, or looked it at least. I’m sorry, but one does not age that much from about 25-35 years old. The aging was simply unrealistic. Also, how is it that Anders doesn’t age drastically within the time period from Origins to 2, yet the rest of the gang does? None of it made sense to me.
I disliked how the game also portrayed both the Wardens as well as my Warden to be
horrible (horrible might be an overstatement, mean is more of the word) people. The first time I met Anders in Dragon Age 2, he went on a forever rant about how he left the Wardens because he didn’t like how they lived and how my character made him give away his cat. I gave him his cat! Why would my character do that? They also said my Warden ran away. Now why would my character randomly run away and disappear? And why is Alistair without me, when in the description at the end of Dragon Age: Origins the couple (I romanced Alistair) traveled everywhere with each other. I felt as though the Warden they were describing in Dragon Age 2 was not at all the one I played in the previous game. Its little details like these that simply do not connect with the first game.
Then there are the locations, or the location that is. You are in Kirkwall. The whole, entire game. There are technically three locations: Kirwall in the Day, Kirkwall at night, and the mountain next to Kirkwall, which you do not often travel to. Granted the city has quite a few sub areas, but none of which are suitable for any action. They just feature more shops and areas to talk to people. Don’t be confused, however; there are battles that take place throughout the town. I just don’t think most of the battles that took place (other than the main ones) were suitable to take place in alleyways. Outside of Kirkwall, you did go into “dungeons”. However, all the “dungeons” took place on the exact same map. The only difference would be that some areas would be blocked off depending on the current quest. The alternate routes would still show up on the map, but would be impossible to physically reach. It was quite irritating how lazy the developers were when creating the areas to explore to.
The combat system was also altered in this sequel. The game felt more like a hack and slash rather than a strategic role-playing game because of this. Even being a mage, most of my combat time consisted purely of turning on haste and jamming the A button repeatedly. Weapon choosing was based on stars rather than stats. The whole system seemed to be simplified for the sake of doing so. I didn’t particularly like it. I enjoyed planning out my actions rather than running in circles pressing A. The combat was mindless compared to the first one. Healing was made more difficult from the first to second game, however. Cool down times for potions were significantly longer, and health seemed to be conveniently lower. I was a better healer than Anders, but even with both of us in the party, my entire team died more than they should have. I also went through 95% of the game not knowing that Anders was the only one capable of reviving others. Not allowing Hawke to revive truly was a detriment to successful combat at tough times, and it made fighting that much more frustrating.
The characters also seemed to be drastically simplified. No longer could Hawke simply walk up to a party member and engage in conversation. Even though this was not originally taken out in Dragon Age 2, rather Awakening, it was not added back in this sequel. Gifts are not obtained like they were in the first one; there were only a couple key gifts that could be given to each character. Other than that, the only way to improve a relationship with a character would be to have them in the party during cut-scenes. This is a harder task than it sounds, however. Character’s personalities conflict, and your choice may improve a relationship with one party member while severely deteriorating a relationship with another. There are also key points where party members require Hawke to visit them at their home location, which in turn triggers a relationship cut-scene. There are a good handful of these, but they lacked depth. Other than altering relationship level, the choices made during these cut-scenes never really effected anything. Some party members can leave if their relationship level is not high enough. I learned this the hard way. If I had known this could happen, I would have played the game differently. This did not happen in my experiences of Dragon Age: Origins, and the gives no indication of it being a possibility in Dragon Age 2. It may irk people to realize that the character they just rescued and equipped expensive weapons to suddenly no longer wants to journey with them on their quests. Luckily, most characters’ friendships can be easily achieved. Unless, you’re a mage, of course, in which you are an abomination to all society.
…Which brings me to my point of the story line. The story line loosely connected to the story of the first one, but not enough to really even call it a sequel. Nothing actually continued, other than the fact that time itself was moving on, and the events of the first game actually did happen. New characters, new situations, new everything really. The quests didn’t really even connect with each other, though. Throughout the entire game, it was utterly confusing to tell the difference between the main quests and the side ones. This was because they were all simply individual tasks to complete, rather than a domino effect of actions. When an act ended, that was it for all quests even remotely relating to that plot. Throughout the whole game, I was simply waiting for something exciting to happen, but it never actually happened. I was even being hyped up to “see what _(x character)_ does”, but even when I found that out, I was disappointed. To quote Kirk Hamilton, Dragon Age 2 was “akin to attending a dinner party and being fed unsatisfying side dish after unsatisfying side dish while awaiting a main course that never arrives”. Not only that, but the conflict between the Mages and the Templars was simply annoying. If the issue was underlying, it would add richness to the game, but every person bringing up the issue was a bit much. Having a main advocate of the Mages and being a Mage didn’t help, either.
In the end, Dragon Age 2 was an enjoyable standalone game to play. There are beautiful aspects of the game, as well as many that will make heads shake. Some absolutely will love the game, others will absolutely despise it. As a sequel, however, the game falls short to its predecessor. In the end: no, Dragon Age 2 isn’t that bad, but compared to Dragon Age: Origins, its an unfortunate disappointing experience.
I need some gaming related input
My college is beginning classes for the Spring semester on Wednesday.With that comes the reboot of all the clubs, including the Video Game Club. The other ambassadors of the club and I are trying to figure out ways to make this semester more successful than the last one by getting more people to attend are meets and events. One way we are going to try to do this is to have a wider range of games being played on an organized, set schedule. We are also going to try for more smaller gaming competitions. However, to do this, we need a list of good multiplayer games to play. They have to be playable on the PS3, 360, or the Wii. It would be preferable if at least four people could play the game at once. Other than that, any game is fair.
So, I need help with this: Does anyone have any game suggestions? Also, does anyone have any ideas on how to get more people to participate in the club? Any input would be appreciated.
Thanks :) ?
I got the bag I’ve been talking about in the mail yesterday. As you may (or may not) know, there is this Dragon Age 2 messenger bag that I have been eye-balling for the past six months or so, and I finally got up enough courage (and money!) to buy it discounted. There was only one discounted bag on Amazon, the cheapest I had ever seen for the bag. However, the day after I placed the order, the seller pulled out from the sale, saying that the item was no longer in stock. I was pretty sad about it, to say the least. After a while of contemplating, I decided to buy the bag at original price. When I got the bag, it was so much bigger than I pictured. Its really gorgeous. I honestly cannot wait to commute with this bag.
Let’s Play the Complete PS Vita Gravity Rush Demo [Video] - http://pulse.me/s/4p7Az
I just watched the video included in the article above featuring the gameplay demo of the game “Gravity Rush”, and I must say, the game is intriguing. The game has a a unique style to it with a concept that I haven’t yet seen in any of the games I have played or heard about. The design reminds me greatly of the free onlne RPG/action game “Rusty Hearts”. Controlling the character and the gravitational movement does look like it can get confusing as well as frustrating, but it also looks fun.
With the vita being released in the US in a couple of short months, are you sold on picking one up at launch? Do games like this just increase your anticipation even more, or are you just dissuaded from buying at all?
2011, a Year In Disappointment [Video] - http://pulse.me/s/4pPMn
Do you agree with this list? When looking at it, some of the items I completely agreed with making the disappointment list, but others I shook my head in utter disagreement. What do you think was the worst product in 2011 gaming? Did it make this list?
College Student Bought an Xbox 360 with Fake Money. He Got Arrested. [Crime] - http://pulse.me/s/4pIwE
I’m sorry, but that’s absolutely ridiculous. I cant beloved someone would be stupid enough to return to the Game Stop in an attempt to make money after practically robbing the store of about 300 dollars. Some people simply amaze me.
I’ve been playing Dragon Age 2 recently, and the last few battles have gone, to put it sweetly, horrendously. I like to have a mage, a rogue, and a warrior in my party at all times. Isabella is no longer in my party (for the time being), my brother is gone (yet again, for the time being), and I need Anders in my party to help heal and to work on the “Justice” quest. Well, since Isabella’s gone, Varric has been a failure of a replacement. His personality is great, but he nor his weapon have been upgraded at all since the beginning of the game. Because of this, he dies almost immediately after engaging in “challenging” battles. Anders only has winter’s grasp for a spell that is not healing-related, rendering him useless as an actual mage. Aveline is good as a tank, however. Even with her being a good fighter, its been hard doing some battles. The only reason I was able to beat the Arishock was because he glitched me, throwing my up on a balcony in the keep that I couldn’t get down from, nor could they get up to me. If I was a warrior I would have been forced to reload, but because of my awesome mage skills I was able to range kill them all. Now I’m facing a huge dragon and kin at the Bonepit. I get her health down to about three quarters before completely losing everyone in my party. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I have to come up with some type of strategy…