Author Topic: Dragon Age 2....  (Read 3765 times)

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Offline Kolgena

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Don't play it; gameplay was boring and superficial, played over repetitively on the same monster types on the same 6 maps the entire game exists in. Read the wiki article for the plot.

 

Offline TrashMan

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DA:O didn't have good characters or story?
It had Sten.  That's about it.  The rest are a chronic whiner and selfish moron (Alistair.  I was pretty pleased when I found out you could have him die), a person who's such an asshole that it's become a minor meme in the Bioware community (Morrigan), a stereotypical dwarf (Oghren), a really annoying girl with a terrible, terrible accent (Leliana), an old lady so boring I have difficulty remembering her at all (Wynne), Zevran, who's actually somewhat tolerable, and Loghain, who the story forces me to oppose because Alistair's a douche.  I'm oversimplifying, but none of them were remotely interesting to me except for Sten and the last two if I'm feeling generous.  After a while, I was talking to them just for completeness's sake.


Really? I feel the opposite.
I liked having a group of relatively normal followers. So very human. Much more real than most.
I personally loved them.

None of that "special snowflake brigade" where every single party member is super-unique, one-of-a-kind race/creature/hybrid/class.

Leli, Alistair, Wynne, Morrigan - all great characters.
 

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Oh, and the player character, who manages to show less emotion than the Tranquil.  When every single line of a game is voice acted, the lack of VA for the player gets really jarring.  I had my character sacrifice himself at the end because I didn't give a **** about him.

The eternal voices vs. non-voiced debate.
I prefer non-voiced. I like to give the character my own voice in my head.

you my friend, lack
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Offline 0rph3u5

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DA2 (or Dragon Age: Kirkwall) is in a akward position before it starts IMO since its story is essentially a tragedy and those tend not to translate well into the gaming space (more so in the RPG genre where the Epic is the expected form). Tragedy in the traditional sense hinges on the audience connecting to a struggling hero due to his or her diminished agency in the conflicts that play out around him or her, since however player agency is one of key features of games as a medium and player pay-off is key element that usually is a weird mess.
(and that due to the "über-powering" of the combat animations and pacicing, besides the poor balance, feeds a ludonarrative dissonance which makes it hard to take)

Another things is that it moves its story through time not through space but really doesn't back that premise up (which has IMO a good move for universe-building); you spend almost ten years in the city and hardly anything ever changes - the people stay always on-screen (e.g. Isabella is said to be adsent for some time but that's all off-screen), the envoirments are unchanged and your PC is ageless

But DA:K is not without mertit; though said mertits lie in what is alluded in the game not what is its main focus:

Spoiler:
- that the history of Theads as we know it by now has a least glaring omissions, if not being outright fabrication to large extend
- that Sprits change while being Abominations, while they were immutable in the Fade (would have been nice if they had guts to do that with a "Demon" rather a "Spirit" since they didn't need to show is that Theads is not a nice place to live)
- that the Rite of Tranquility doesn't work
- Red Lyrium
- that the Qunari aren't just a military outside threat but have infilitrated the continent to large extend already (DLC 2)
- that there are other immoral Darkspawn which generate a call similar to the Archdemons (DLC 1)

But if you want the meat of what is going to be important for DA:I you should rather read "Asunder" as it treads some of the important points with more detail
« Last Edit: May 22, 2014, 02:57:54 am by 0rph3u5 »
"When you work with water, you have to know and respect it. When you labour to subdue it, you have to understand that one day it may rise up and turn all your labours into nothing. For what is water, which seeks to make all things level, which has no taste or colour of its own, but a liquid form of Nothing?" - Graham Swift, Waterland

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"...because they are not Dragons."

 

Offline Aesaar

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The eternal voices vs. non-voiced debate.
I prefer non-voiced. I like to give the character my own voice in my head.

you my friend, lack
*imagination*
Or I just hate the fact that everyone is voiced except for one character because I find it jarring.  I'd much rather have no one voiced at all.  But nice try.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2014, 04:59:58 am by Aesaar »

 

Offline TrashMan

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Of course others are voiced. They are pre-designed and already established individuals.
The PC is not.

While it's nice to hear your PC speak, the very fact that the tone in which he speaks, what he says exactly and how he sounds - are all outside of your control and can be completely different than how you want your character to be.
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Offline Lorric

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Of course others are voiced. They are pre-designed and already established individuals.
The PC is not.

While it's nice to hear your PC speak, the very fact that the tone in which he speaks, what he says exactly and how he sounds - are all outside of your control and can be completely different than how you want your character to be.
I have a query, does the PC in this game speak like other characters, or only speak after you've had a choice of what the PC says?

 

Offline TrashMan

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You pick 3 from tones - generally between sarcastic/neutral, diplomatic/nice and agressive/dick.

And then Hawke sez something resembling your pick (because it's parphrased. You don't know exactly what he will say)

Also, the tone you pick the most becomes the dominant one and is "auto-picked" sometimes (some lines - the player never gets an option on - like conversation starters, greetings and the like)

So basically if you've picked aggressive Hawke a lot, Hawke may start being gruff and aggressive towards everyone.
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Offline Lorric

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Hmmm. It's an interesting design decision. I'd have to see it for myself to decide if it was better with or without a voice, but I'd probably go with a voice if it was me. Thanks.

 

Offline Aesaar

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It's almost exactly like Mass Effect, if you've played that.  Only difference is the dominant tone thing TrashMan mentioned.

Of course others are voiced. They are pre-designed and already established individuals.
The PC is not.
  Irrelevant.  My problem isn't with some inherent lack of personality from lack of voice acting.  I'd be fine with it if no one was voiced (like in Infinity Engine games).  However, when everyone but the PC is voiced, he/she comes off as completely emotionless by comparison.  It's the contrast that annoys me.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2014, 10:55:09 am by Aesaar »

 

Offline Scotty

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I'd wager that the PC comes off as emotionless because it's kinda really difficult (without being really gimmicky and/or bull****) to project the player's emotions onto the PC at any given time. :P

Given that in a good many RPGs the PC and the player are effectively synonymous, I can see where having a voice acted PC is directly contrary to the desired design choice.  Even if everyone else in the game is voiced.

 

Offline MP-Ryan

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I'd wager that the PC comes off as emotionless because it's kinda really difficult (without being really gimmicky and/or bull****) to project the player's emotions onto the PC at any given time. :P

Given that in a good many RPGs the PC and the player are effectively synonymous, I can see where having a voice acted PC is directly contrary to the desired design choice.  Even if everyone else in the game is voiced.

Indeed.

Part of this, I think, also depends on the game perspective.  Third-person games lend themselves more readily to voice-acted PCs as you tend to control a defined character.  First-person games, on the other hand, feature you quite literally in the driver seat and therefore tend to be more about personal immersion.

Mass Effect I think was greatly enhanced by full voice acting of the PC as it was a more cinematic player experience (the player is closer to film director than being the actual character).  Games like The Elder Scrolls, on the other hand, would suffer if the player was voice-acted.... in that game, you ARE the character, and having another voice in your place would be jarring.  While I liked DA:O's setup, I actually think I would have preferred a voice-acted PC (of course, that severely limits the amount of available dialogue).  Then again, I also played a female PC in DA:O so I had less invested in me-as-character rather than me-controlling-story.  It worked regardless, so it's really not that important.
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Interestingly, I'm re-playing DAO before seeing this thread, and I enjoy it greatly. I wish I had more time to really play it in a row and I do have a mod to deal with the Fade portion, I look forward to play it further through and get into the many DLC I passed up in the past.

Dragon Age 2 is definitely inferior in my opinion and I don't like how the protagonist is forced whereas there's some level of roleplay, intonation, etc to DAO's silent protagonist, similar to how I enjoy Morrowind's pure-text even more than the way its handled in the great Interesting NPC mod for Skyrim. Guess it's just me, in that case.

I am slowly becoming more interested in Inquisition, though. It won't be as unique and different as Witcher 3, of course, but I think it may be an actual good blend. At least I better hope so because I don't want this series, nor the new Mass Effect being something of a(nother) dissapointment
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Offline karajorma

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I think the Witcher series are a much better example of how to handle a game with a clearly defined protagonist rather than one where you can just roll one up at the start of the game. Unlike Dragon Age II, I never felt I was being led around the plot like a bull by a ring through his nose. And that's despite Witcher II being pretty much just as geographically constrained as Dragon Age II was.
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Offline Veers

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Started playing DA2 about two-ish days ago, nearly finished.

Spoiler:
- It has been simplified in many areas, some are welcome refinements though. Otherwise just remove any complexity from what was experienced in Origins
- Still plays well, but it is not the same as Origins. There are things missing, but still enjoyable once you get over the initial grind and shock of the first few quests. (adjusting to the changes really)
- Some artistic changes I don't find overly welcome, but again. You get used to it, but in some cases, only one or two examples from Origins to base it on.
- I don't like the changes made to the Darkspawn, huge appearance changes. They just are not.. scary or evil now. They look more like generic zombies that we've seen for the past x years.
- Combat is quicker, but less tactics are needed at times. Certainly not to the same depth Origins would let you to.
- I like Merrill

Just my two cents, I'm still finding it enjoyable however I doubt it has anywhere near the replay value, for myself at least.
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Offline Mr. Vega

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This thread confirms my theory that noone except the developers has a higher opinion of DAII than I do. I'm copy-and-pasting something I posted from another site:

That stuff [the awesome button video] is a real pity because DAII’s story is actually interesting. DA:O was a very cliched save-the-world story with cliched characters, brilliantly executed and lovingly voice-acted. DAII’s story is actually about something even if it’s a flawed mess. And the characters? They drew so much criticism because they rarely resemble the appealing stereotypes of DA:O and so were mistaken for being dull.

Hold, I’m actually going to praise this game. The fact is that there are moments – moments! – when they actually resemble real people, which is the sort of thing that you would never see in DA:O. With a couple of characters (Aveline and Isabella), they even did something extraordinary. The writers introduce you to a character and allow you to draw the obvious impression of them, let you get comfortable with that impression, and then an act later, show you how they behave in a new situation that gives away who they really are and you realize that everything you believed about them was wrong. I don’t mean there’s some grand revelation of someone’s past. I mean that as I got to know them they surprised me, and I felt stupid for jumping to conclusions instead of watching them without prejudice. That never happens in videogames! Even in games with good character development, it’s always about the big reveal. This is the first game I’ve ever played where getting to know someone actually reminded me of a real life experience.

It’s an interesting game because it’s so flawed. One scene that was put in to get an easy joke out of Isabella’s sex life will make you roll your eyes at the screen, but then the next time you see her she’ll be drinking away her sorrows in a tavern as the disappointments of her life begin to pile up, and it’s hard not to start caring about her. She’s never getting her old life back and she’s starting to realize it. It’s a poorly designed and poorly written game, with series of morality-based choices so ridiculous it almost comes off as a parody of grey fantasy…but it’s also fascinating, with moments in between the crap of real poignancy and sadness, and honest-to-god story-spanning emotional arcs that your party members go through that aren’t spoon fed to them by the player. What other game has a story that stretches out over a whole decade, takes the passage of time seriously, to give the characters a chance to really change and mature? I’m not saying it’s a great game but…you know what? There are plenty of great games that I found less interesting than Dragon Age II.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2014, 11:00:42 am by Mr. Vega »
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Offline TrashMan

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This thread confirms my theory that noone except the developers has a higher opinion of DAII than I do. I'm copy-and-pasting something I posted from another site:

That stuff [the awesome button video] is a real pity because DAII’s story is actually interesting. DA:O was a very cliched save-the-world story with cliched characters, brilliantly executed and lovingly voice-acted. DAII’s story is actually about something even if it’s a flawed mess. And the characters? They drew so much criticism because they rarely resemble the appealing stereotypes of DA:O and so were mistaken for being dull.

What?

Run that by me again, because I cannot comprehend how DA:O characters are stereotypes, but DA2 characters aren't.
Because I'm not seeing much difference in ANY Bioware game when it comes to characters.
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Offline Kolgena

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I think it's more like DA:O had characters from LOTR, while DA2 had characters from GoT. (I'm not saying that DA2 had the quality of GoT, however)

 

Offline General Battuta

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The ASOIAF inspiration was heavy in DA:O already - the developers must have felt like chumps when ASOIAF went mainstream. If anything DA2 seemed to pull a little more Whedonesque.

 

Offline Scotty

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Alistair is particularly egregious.

Bastard son of a betrayed nobleman, who joins an order dedicated to defending civilization from an omnipresent but popularly misunderstood threat from beyond the realm of human habitation?

Nope.  Never been done before.

 

Offline Aesaar

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Well, to be fair, they did break the mold with him by making him both a moron and a douchebag.