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Thread: Dragon Age

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    I feel like the agency issue is as follows: having tasted little bits of choice and agency, players feel as if they need to have more, and I don't fault them terribly much for that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarpeGuitarrem View Post
    I feel like the agency issue is as follows: having tasted little bits of choice and agency, players feel as if they need to have more, and I don't fault them terribly much for that.
    It's very seldom I've found myself annoyed by a game not letting me make choices. It has happened, but it takes something as utterly linear as a Call of Duty game to do it.

    Only having stupid choices annoys me somewhat.

    Having the ability to make essentially meaningless choices undermine the game's attempt to tell a story bugs me far more. In my experience the best stories in games have been those that offered either no narrative impacting choice, or very few important choices. Letting me choose a line of dialog every three minutes so I can hear one of three responses that all mean the same damn thing doesn't change the story, it just weakens the writer's ability to know who the characters are.

    (I've also never subscribed to the whole 'games are totally superior to everything else ever because interaction' school of navel-gazing. Removing player choice to me isn't going against the One True Destiny of Gaming As Art, it's a perfectly valid choice to better tell a story over which the player may have limited control.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Silver View Post
    That doesn't mean it's not a tragedy, just that's it not a specific type of tragedy. 'Classical tragedy' (where the suffering of the protagonist is a result of their action of mistake) does not account all forms of tragedy, which is why there are works that do, in fact, consist of bad things happening to the protagonist in spite of what they do (e.g. Grave of the Fireflies). Trying to argue otherwise is akin to claiming that something can only be a comedy if it follows the conventions of a farce.
    Grave of the Fireflies is a moving piece of work, but I don't believe it qualifies as a tragedy for those reasons.

    Also farce is not the only "classical" form of comedy, so that comparison doesn't fly.

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    I just completed DA2, and I'm largely uncomprehending of the level of fury at this game. Though that may be because I haven't had the chance to play Origins, and I had already completed ME3 before playing DA2.

    I liked having a smaller scale fantasy story, set entirely in and around one city.

    The combat was enjoyable, with only a few excessively hard fights, though I liked it more in the early game, when I could just program my allies and not micromanage constantly (In fact, I was continually reminded of Final Fantasy 12 by DA2, except with a much better pace).

    A lot of fantasy RPG cliches were broken... usually in ways that ended up ugly and tragic, but I don't think that's a bad thing.

    And then the conclusion, which I'd been dreading because of the reactions I'd heard to it... which made me think, "There are people who think this is a crappy ending? Really?"

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    One of your own trusted allies triggering the huge, bloody revolt at the end of the game was disturbing and unexpected. My own Hawke was an apostate mage himself, and what Anders did was enough to make my Hawke want to hand Anders over to the Templars personally. The fact that Anders had used my help to kill a bunch of people and trap me in the no-win situation of dealing with it...


    It's a painful, disturbing ending, not a badly done ending.

    Really, I only found one hole in the plot that was big enough for me to take issue with:

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    Isabella taking the Qunari book and running out on you. OK, so she cares more about herself than preventing a war with the Qunari, that's believable. But who the hell could she be afraid of to that degree? All that time, I was expecting the solution to be killing the hell out of whoever was pressuring her, so that the book could be returned.



    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    It's very seldom I've found myself annoyed by a game not letting me make choices. It has happened, but it takes something as utterly linear as a Call of Duty game to do it.
    The latest Call of Duty has multiple endings depending on how you complete your objectives over the course of the game. I think devs have noticed that players like having an impact on the setting.
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    Quote Originally Posted by VanBuren View Post
    Grave of the Fireflies is a moving piece of work, but I don't believe it qualifies as a tragedy for those reasons.
    Then what is it? Because if you're going to start writing-off works - that are generally classified as tragedy by people who accept that genres can diversify a bit after a couple of millennia - on the basis of what Aristotle had to say about the genre in his lifetime* the onus is kind of on you to explain what these works should actually be called.

    *note that if you are following this route by adhering to the 'classical' model, the amount of tragic works you're going to have to re-classify will be fairly numerous, given that another core tenet of the classical model is that the protagonist has to be of high status or power.
    Also farce is not the only "classical" form of comedy, so that comparison doesn't fly.
    It only 'doesn't fly' if you're applying some special significance to the classical world and (what we know of) it's approach to fiction*. To me this seems a rather bizarre decision given the vast chasm of time in between that period and ours, and the cultural and artistic shifts that have resulted from that. But ok, we'll run with that premise for now, so here's a comparison more suited to it. What you're doing with tragedy is akin to claiming that black/dark comedy isn't a type of comedy.

    *in the same way as particularly obstinate music fans will argue that all varieties of a genre that weren't represented at the inception of said genre 'don't count' (e.g. old-school metal fans ranting on about how all this newfangled progressive-/industrial-/death-metal stuff isn't 'real' metal).
    Last edited by Mr.Silver; 2012-11-15 at 08:29 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NeoVid View Post
    I just completed DA2, and I'm largely uncomprehending of the level of fury at this game. Though that may be because I haven't had the chance to play Origins, and I had already completed ME3 before playing DA2.
    I've generally found that people who play DA2 first generally like it. Most of the hatred comes from the very hardcore DAO fans, as there were a quite of few gameplay changes from Origins.

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoVid View Post
    Really, I only found one hole in the plot that was big enough for me to take issue with:

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    Isabella taking the Qunari book and running out on you. OK, so she cares more about herself than preventing a war with the Qunari, that's believable. But who the hell could she be afraid of to that degree? All that time, I was expecting the solution to be killing the hell out of whoever was pressuring her, so that the book could be returned.
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    Castillon, the slaver who's after her, is fairly powerful. But in fact, if you get Isabela's Friendship or Rivalry score to above +50, she returns during your confrontation with the Arishok. In Act 3, you actually DO kill Castillon, or blackmail him into leaving Isabela alone.
    Last edited by Candle Jack; 2012-11-15 at 11:16 PM.

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    I liked both games, but it really depends on what YOU like, OP. For example, I liked Dragon Age: Origins for its big, grand, high fantasy KILL THE EVIL SAVE THE LAND type story, and I liked Dragon Age 2 for its tremendous amounts of melodrama and angsty characters.

    In essence, I liked them because I liked X-Men.

    But lots of people hate the balls out of Dragon Age 2 precisely for what I mentioned, while others hate Dragon Age Origins for being poorer in the action department.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Candle Jack View Post
    I've generally found that people who play DA2 first generally like it. Most of the hatred comes from the very hardcore DAO fans, as there were a quite of few gameplay changes from Origins.
    Ah, the hatred of game n+1 for being different from game n. Never really understood it myself. For me the relevant question is always 'is this, right now, an engaging and enjoyable way to spend my time?' How it relates to the last thing it shares a title with bothers me not a whit. If I want that experience again, I'll replay the last game.
    Happiness yesterday and happiness tomorrow, but never today... It can't be because it's only an illusion after all, and illusions only look real from a distance. We're over, my dreamy lost love, over, and that's the best thing of all, because it's the only thing that makes it good.

    George RR Martin, Dying of the Light, 1977.

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    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    (I've also never subscribed to the whole 'games are totally superior to everything else ever because interaction' school of navel-gazing. Removing player choice to me isn't going against the One True Destiny of Gaming As Art, it's a perfectly valid choice to better tell a story over which the player may have limited control.)
    I dunno, I both agree and disagree with you on this one. Mostly because I don't think "choice" (which I agree is sometimes good but isn't necessary to make a compelling game narrative) is the same thing as "interaction" (which I disagree; interaction just about always makes a narrative moment better).

    For the record, I define "choice" as points where the player's actions can make a major, lasting difference in how the rest of the narrative plays out, like
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    the end of Awakening where you can either kill the Architect, or ally yourself with him.


    But "interaction" as points where the player is tangibly and viscerally responsible for what occurs, like that one part of the ending of Bastion I talked about earlier.

    You can have moments of interaction without choice (Bastion, Spec Ops: The Line) and you can have moments of choice without interaction (basically every game with dialogue options ever made).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Candle Jack View Post


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    Castillon, the slaver who's after her, is fairly powerful. But in fact, if you get Isabela's Friendship or Rivalry score to above +50, she returns during your confrontation with the Arishok. In Act 3, you actually DO kill Castillon, or blackmail him into leaving Isabela alone.
    Huh. So the whole reason it happened that way was that I hadn't put in enough effort to get her to trust my character?

    It appears my main annoyance at the game was just killed. Time to try and not screw that up on my second run through.
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    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    Ah, the hatred of game n+1 for being different from game n. Never really understood it myself. For me the relevant question is always 'is this, right now, an engaging and enjoyable way to spend my time?' How it relates to the last thing it shares a title with bothers me not a whit. If I want that experience again, I'll replay the last game.
    Most of the time it's because people want MORE of the last game (game "N"). Not everyone finds enjoyment in replaying an old game indefinitely; sooner or later you want to move on. The problem is that if there is no game that caters to the "feeling" you got when playing game N, you are basically SOL.

    The criticism against DA2 can be summarized in these points. Note that not all players agree on all points:

    1. They changed the gameplay from DA:O, making it much more "console-y".

    2. They removed the Origins, forcing you to play a human character with a specific origin.

    3. They introduced the dialogue wheel and a voiced main character.

    4. They made the game extremely railroaded and made your choices irrelevant.

    5. They ruined Anders, making him one of the most hated characters ever in video game history.

    6. The story is too depressing to be entertaining or even interesting.

    7. The story is too dependant on NPC Idiot Balls to work properly.

    8. The changed graphics are worse than in the first game, and recurring characters looks nothing alike. (And the darkspawn looks like deranged cuddly toys).

    Of these I, personally, agree with 1, 4, 6, 7, 8, with 6 being the one issue that made me stop playing. Others might only have a problem with one of these, others have a huge problems with all eight.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeoVid View Post
    Huh. So the whole reason it happened that way was that I hadn't put in enough effort to get her to trust my character?
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    Isabela will still ditch you at the end of "To Catch A Thief" no matter what your relationship is with her. But if you have built up sufficient friendship or rivalry, she pulls a Han Solo and returns just as you are confronting the Arishok. She hands over the Tome of Koslun. However, you may end up fighting the Arishok anyway for other reasons. I daren't say more.
    Last edited by Candle Jack; 2012-11-16 at 03:09 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Avilan the Grey View Post
    3. They introduced the dialogue wheel and a voiced main character.
    I actually liked this bit, myself. The voice acting was decent, so nothing really suffered (it's not like DA: O was known for god-tier writing, anyway)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalmarvho View Post
    I actually liked this bit, myself. The voice acting was decent, so nothing really suffered (it's not like DA: O was known for god-tier writing, anyway)
    As you see above I don't have a problem with that either.
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    1. They changed the gameplay from DA:O, making it much more "console-y".
    I've heard this argument. I find the controls of DA2 far superior.

    2. They removed the Origins, forcing you to play a human character with a specific origin.
    No one had a problem with this in Mass Effect. It seems a hollow complaint at best to me.

    3. They introduced the dialogue wheel and a voiced main character.
    Same as above. The wheel works as well as a Moral system is going to work in video games.

    4. They made the game extremely railroaded and made your choices irrelevant.
    Can't disagree with this in some parts.

    5. They ruined Anders, making him one of the most hated characters ever in video game history.
    Agree with this. This is what I'd call a valid issue with the game. But it doesn't make the game -bad-. It just makes the game against what I personally like.

    6. The story is too depressing to be entertaining or even interesting.
    You're the first person I've ever heard field this issue to be honest. I don't know what game series you or anyone else have been playing if this is an actual criticism but the world of Thedas is pretty crap sack. The world has to face the rebirth of a Dead God in the form of a giant demonic dragon that commands hoards of corrupting monsters whose very presence poisons the lands on one side. A militaristic socio-religious order whose only desire is to make everyone like them on another and a religious order that stamps down dissidents and carries out massive holy wars because it's the flavor of the week and someone was caught line dancing on the other. Add on to that that peoples DREAMS are deadly and magic means you walk a line between a difficult life of cloistered solitude away from society, being hunted like a dog every day of your life or ya know.. possessed by a demon and used as flesh puppet into the mix and...the list goes on. I could exhaust the text limit on just how crappy Thedas is as a world to live in.

    My point however is, if you somehow thought that Dragon Age was about anything other than a struggle against a dark and uncaring world even from Origins then really, you only have yourself to blame. And that counter criticism goes to anyone who somehow thinks that Dragon Age 2 having some rather depressing elements as a determent to the game. If you want a happy, joyous game then I'd suggest another game series. Heck, another game company. Bioware as far as I've experienced doesn't make games where everything is happy and fluffy from Baulders Gate to Mass Effect 3.

    7. The story is too dependant on NPC Idiot Balls to work properly.
    At times sure.

    8. The changed graphics are worse than in the first game, and recurring characters looks nothing alike. (And the darkspawn looks like deranged cuddly toys).
    Changed graphics to make the races look more distinct? I don't see how that could ever be a bad thing. Qunari don't look like tall humans. Elves don't look like humans with pointy ears. Those are the two major changed races as far as I know. As for graphics being worse? That's just demonstrably not true what so ever. Maybe graphically different than the first game but worse? I just don't see how such an argument for it when screen shots alone demonstrate this isn't the case.


    Making the Dark Spawn look more monsterous...meh. They aren't even a main focus in the game. You see them a bit at the start of the game and a bit at the end of the first Chapter. That seems a hollow complaint for the game as well. Also giving a wider pallet other than the gray, brown and more gray of Origins is a good change. Not that DA2 has a bigger color wheel to work with but hey, it shows and that's what I care about.
    Last edited by Tebryn; 2012-11-16 at 03:32 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tebryn View Post
    I've heard this argument. I find the controls of DA2 far superior..
    To each his or her own. I didn't HATE the controls, but I did dislike them, and I hated the inferior camera. Of course I prefer old fashioned RPG controls, like in DA:O or BG.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tebryn View Post
    No one had a problem with this in Mass Effect. It seems a hollow complaint at best to me.
    ...
    Same as above. The wheel works as well as a Moral system is going to work in video games..
    It is not a hollow complaint if you do not like those kind of things. In fact the addition of the dialogue wheel and the voiced character is one of the MAJOR complaints against the game (I do not have a problem with it, as I said); many fans of BG and DA:O dubbed this game "Dragon Effect 2" due to this, for instance, and it was not a term of endearment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tebryn View Post
    You're the first person I've ever heard field this issue to be honest. I don't know what game series you or anyone else have been playing if this is an actual criticism but the world of Thedas is pretty crap sack. The world has to face the rebirth of a Dead God in the form of a giant demonic dragon that commands hoards of corrupting monsters whose very presence poisons the lands on one side. A militaristic socio-religious order whose only desire is to make everyone like them on another and a religious order that stamps down dissidents and carries out massive holy wars because it's the flavor of the week and someone was caught line dancing on the other. Add on to that that peoples DREAMS are deadly and magic means you walk a line between a difficult life of cloistered solitude away from society, being hunted like a dog every day of your life or ya know.. possessed by a demon and used as flesh puppet into the mix and...the list goes on. I could exhaust the text limit on just how crappy Thedas is as a world to live in.
    ...
    My point however is, if you somehow thought that Dragon Age was about anything other than a struggle against a dark and uncaring world even from Origins then really, you only have yourself to blame. And that counter criticism goes to anyone who somehow thinks that Dragon Age 2 having some rather depressing elements as a determent to the game. If you want a happy, joyous game then I'd suggest another game series. Heck, another game company. Bioware as far as I've experienced doesn't make games where everything is happy and fluffy from Baulders Gate to Mass Effect 3..
    Many people have expressed this complaint but it tend to be baked into the complaint regarding the railroading and the lack of meaningful choices. I broke the two appart in my list above but usually the complaint goes "No matter what I do everything goes to hell!".

    I am comparing this game to the rest of the Bioware portfolio, and that includes DA:O. Origins was a MUCH happier game; you really felt like you were making a difference! (and that is the main difference!). Yes, the world is a dark and horrible place. But there is genuine hope; the warden is truly HELPING, and the choices you make can (unless you are a moron or a true bastard) really make Ferelden a better place. DA2 reeks of "Let's punch the player in the stommach as many times as we can! Let's make his brother die! Let's make his sister be caught by the templars! Let's make Anders a truly evil psychopath!
    I can't decide if the writers truly thought this was a more "deep and meaningful" / "artsy" choice or if they just decided to troll DA:O players.

    As I said, I don't play games to make myself feel bad. Quite the opposite.
    (which btw is why I would never consider playing The Path, for example).

    Quote Originally Posted by Tebryn View Post
    Changed graphics to make the races look more distinct? I don't see how that could ever be a bad thing. Qunari don't look like tall humans. Elves don't look like humans with pointy ears. Those are the two major changed races as far as I know. As for graphics being worse? That's just demonstrably not true what so ever. Maybe graphically different than the first game but worse? I just don't see how such an argument for it when screen shots alone demonstrate this isn't the case...
    ...
    Making the Dark Spawn look more monsterous...meh. They aren't even a main focus in the game. You see them a bit at the start of the game and a bit at the end of the first Chapter. That seems a hollow complaint for the game as well. Also giving a wider pallet other than the gray, brown and more gray of Origins is a good change. Not that DA2 has a bigger color wheel to work with but hey, it shows and that's what I care about.
    My point is that the graphics, as demanding as they are on your computer, sucks. And for the record the complaint is that the darkspawn (and most other enemies too) looks LESS scary. My first reaction when I saw the DA2 ogre was "OOO big teddy bear! Lets give it hugses!". Basically the DA2 graphics have a number of flaws:

    1. The over all style is far more cartoony. This is on purpose, however so I guess they succeeded with that.

    2. The armors look LESS realistic than in DA:O. They all look like they are made of plastic, to boot (something with the surface effects).

    3. The monster designs are disappointing, especially the darkspawn but also demons.

    4. The deliberately change of certain characters (Isabella went from "Awesome sexy caucasian rogue" to "Dark skinned porn star with piercings"

    5. The complete failure when it comes to make recurring NPC characters (Leliana, Alistair etc) look even remotely like their old selfs.

    Now there is one good thing: The qunari looks good.
    "If I have to fight through guards, I've made a mistake." - Thane
    "HERP, DERP! NINJAAAAAAA!!!!!" - Kai Leng

    Shepard: "Wrex! Do we have mawsign?"
    Wrex: "Shepard, we have mawsign the likes of which even Reapers have never seen!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Avilan the Grey View Post
    It is not a hollow complaint if you do not like those kind of things. In fact the addition of the dialogue wheel and the voiced character is one of the MAJOR complaints against the game (I do not have a problem with it, as I said); many fans of BG and DA:O dubbed this game "Dragon Effect 2" due to this, for instance, and it was not a term of endearment.
    They didn't hide the fact that it was going to have a voiced protagonist. It's not like the hid the fact. I find it hollow when people knew about the fact already and bought the game anyway. If you don't like it, don't buy it and show the game developers your opinions through lack of sales. One million copies of the game being sold in two weeks shows that this didn't happen.

    Many people have expressed this complaint but it tend to be baked into the complaint regarding the railroading and the lack of meaningful choices. I broke the two appart in my list above but usually the complaint goes "No matter what I do everything goes to hell!".
    Yes well, that is the theme of the game. The game was never "You save the world." It starts out telling you the world went to hell. Like, the opening cut scene. The game is just telling you how and what your role was in it. Being surprised with what you get when you're told is rather silly isn't it?

    I am comparing this game to the rest of the Bioware portfolio, and that includes DA:O. Origins was a MUCH happier game; you really felt like you were making a difference! (and that is the main difference!). Yes, the world is a dark and horrible place. But there is genuine hope; the warden is truly HELPING, and the choices you make can (unless you are a moron or a true bastard) really make Ferelden a better place. DA2 reeks of "Let's punch the player in the stommach as many times as we can! Let's make his brother die! Let's make his sister be caught by the templars! Let's make Anders a truly evil psychopath!
    You'll forgive me but I don't buy it. I played DA:O as a rather nice and helpful Warden, righting wrongs and making the world a "better" place but it certainly didn't feel like it. If you help the were-wolves you find out they are still growing wild and murdering people. The Dwarves are still screwed regardless of who you put onto the throne. The only place that isn't totally ruined is Redcliff but it wasn't really the whole city but the Earl that was having issues. What has changed for the better of Fereldan? You either put a man on the throne who doesn't want the position against his will or a crazy woman who only desires power.

    As for DA2...ya. Carver or...I forget the sisters name because I play a mage get the short end in the first ten minutes of the game depending on the class you choose. The other has a wide variety of options of what will happen to them either as a Gray Warden, Death or Circle Mage/Templar. Anders, if you Romance him, isn't nearly as bad as otherwise but it doesn't change the fact he murders a ton of innocent people. But hey. Anders is an Abomination. It was only a matter of time. Your brother or sister is their own person. That's the entire point of Carvers little temper tantrum when he runs off to the Templars. I haven't seen how the Sister plays out because again, I've only ever played the Mage, but I suppose this is a good point to bring this up. The story of Hawke isn't a story about a world saving character who supports his friends on his shoulders and is the bastion of strength the world can rally around. The story is about one character and his interactions with everyone around him. He's not a super hero. He's a man.


    I can't decide if the writers truly thought this was a more "deep and meaningful" / "artsy" choice or if they just decided to troll DA:O players.
    They've discussed this with several media outlets, if you're interested I'd suggest listening to the interviews. It's neither.

    As I said, I don't play games to make myself feel bad. Quite the opposite.
    (which btw is why I would never consider playing The Path, for example).
    Neither do I? Does anyone? I didn't feel bad at the end of Dragon Age 2.


    My point is that the graphics, as demanding as they are on your computer, sucks.
    We'll have to disagree on this one. I rather like them.

    And for the record the complaint is that the darkspawn (and most other enemies too) looks LESS scary. My first reaction when I saw the DA2 ogre was "OOO big teddy bear! Lets give it hugses!". Basically the DA2 graphics have a number of flaws:
    I never found them scary. The Ogre's change reflects that they're created off of Qunari. I rather like the changes.

    1. The over all style is far more cartoony. This is on purpose, however so I guess they succeeded with that.
    Really? It's not WoW.

    2. The armors look LESS realistic than in DA:O. They all look like they are made of plastic, to boot (something with the surface effects).
    At least for the mages, armor hasn't changed a wink from DA:O. It must be a Warrior/Rogue thing.

    3. The monster designs are disappointing, especially the darkspawn but also demons.
    Demons haven't changed from DA:O so I don't know what you're talking about. Shades, Rage Demons, Desire Demons and Pride Demons like exactly as they did in DA:O. As do the corpses and Arcane Horrors.

    4. The deliberately change of certain characters (Isabella went from "Awesome sexy caucasian rogue" to "Dark skinned porn star with piercings"
    Maybe this is from DLC where she shows up more, wouldn't know, but looking at her picture from DA:O she's not Caucasian.. She looks like someone hit her in the face with a shovel.

    5. The complete failure when it comes to make recurring NPC characters (Leliana, Alistair etc) look even remotely like their old selfs.
    You'll have that when you change graphics. Faces in DA:O look like lumpy potatoes covered in play-dough. Any change is an improvement.

    Now there is one good thing: The qunari looks good.
    That they do. Was very happy about their change.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tebryn View Post

    As for DA2...ya. Carver or...I forget the sisters name because I play a mage get the short end in the first ten minutes of the game depending on the class you choose. The other has a wide variety of options of what will happen to them either as a Gray Warden, Death or Circle Mage/Templar. Anders, if you Romance him, isn't nearly as bad as otherwise but it doesn't change the fact he murders a ton of innocent people. But hey. Anders is an Abomination. It was only a matter of time. Your brother or sister is their own person. That's the entire point of Carvers little temper tantrum when he runs off to the Templars. I haven't seen how the Sister plays out because again, I've only ever played the Mage, but I suppose this is a good point to bring this up. The story of Hawke isn't a story about a world saving character who supports his friends on his shoulders and is the bastion of strength the world can rally around. The story is about one character and his interactions with everyone around him. He's not a super hero. He's a man.
    To the first part: The sister's name is Bethany. I enjoy Rogue Hawke the most (I feel like Hawkeye and the Green Arrow, hehehe) so I'm more familiar with Bethany's story than Carver's. She doesn't have anywhere near the rivalry with Hawke that Carver does. None at all, actually. She submits to the Circle because she believes it's the only way for Hawke and their mother to live in freedom, without the fear of being condemned and executed for harboring an apostate. At any rate, each character has his or her own motivations, and will act on those motivations between acts or when Hawke isn't around. Their growth as characters doesn't simply stop when they're not in your party, and that is one of DA2's greatest strengths, in my opinion.

    To the second part of your paragraph: Well, Hawke is a very extraordinary man/woman, but sometimes even that isn't enough to avert the inevitable. It was only a matter of time until the mages and templars came to blows. You can't keep people in what is at best benevolent slavery and expect them to stay that way forever. Especially when those people have that kind of power at their fingertips.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    Fortunately, a Monk 1/Warblade 19 uses Iron Heart Surge to end the Monk character class, and the day is saved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beowulf DW View Post
    To the first part: The sister's name is Bethany. I enjoy Rogue Hawke the most (I feel like Hawkeye and the Green Arrow, hehehe) so I'm more familiar with Bethany's story than Carver's. She doesn't have anywhere near the rivalry with Hawke that Carver does. None at all, actually. She submits to the Circle because she believes it's the only way for Hawke and their mother to live in freedom, without the fear of being condemned and executed for harboring an apostate. At any rate, each character has his or her own motivations, and will act on those motivations between acts or when Hawke isn't around. Their growth as characters doesn't simply stop when they're not in your party, and that is one of DA2's greatest strengths, in my opinion.

    To the second part of your paragraph: Well, Hawke is a very extraordinary man/woman, but sometimes even that isn't enough to avert the inevitable. It was only a matter of time until the mages and templars came to blows. You can't keep people in what is at best benevolent slavery and expect them to stay that way forever. Especially when those people have that kind of power at their fingertips.
    I agree with all of this really. My counter criticism to the people who dislike Dragon Age 2 is exactly these points. The game isn't about a super hero. It's about a man. I find it far more realistic. I also find the statements that DA:O was a "Happier" game to be utterly without merit or evidence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tebryn View Post
    I agree with all of this really. My counter criticism to the people who dislike Dragon Age 2 is exactly these points. The game isn't about a super hero. It's about a man. I find it far more realistic. I also find the statements that DA:O was a "Happier" game to be utterly without merit or evidence.
    Well, as for the "happy" part, the Warden certainly was able to improve the lot of many people. But nothing was ever completely fixed (except maybe for the dwarves if you choose to back the prince). I agree completely that Thedas is pretty close to a kind of hell (even their Maker is a huge jerk), but I also understand the desire of some people to have more of a positive impact on the setting.

    All in all, I agree with you, Tebryn. But I do see how some people feel that DAO was happy relative to DA2. "It was happier" would be a more fitting way to describe it, I guess.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    Fortunately, a Monk 1/Warblade 19 uses Iron Heart Surge to end the Monk character class, and the day is saved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Silver View Post
    Then what is it? Because if you're going to start writing-off works - that are generally classified as tragedy by people who accept that genres can diversify a bit after a couple of millennia - on the basis of what Aristotle had to say about the genre in his lifetime* the onus is kind of on you to explain what these works should actually be called.

    *note that if you are following this route by adhering to the 'classical' model, the amount of tragic works you're going to have to re-classify will be fairly numerous, given that another core tenet of the classical model is that the protagonist has to be of high status or power.

    It only 'doesn't fly' if you're applying some special significance to the classical world and (what we know of) it's approach to fiction*. To me this seems a rather bizarre decision given the vast chasm of time in between that period and ours, and the cultural and artistic shifts that have resulted from that. But ok, we'll run with that premise for now, so here's a comparison more suited to it. What you're doing with tragedy is akin to claiming that black/dark comedy isn't a type of comedy.

    *in the same way as particularly obstinate music fans will argue that all varieties of a genre that weren't represented at the inception of said genre 'don't count' (e.g. old-school metal fans ranting on about how all this newfangled progressive-/industrial-/death-metal stuff isn't 'real' metal).
    I'm just going to go ahead and concede the argument. I'm not that invested, and dissenting from GiantITP consensus almost always gets me into trouble somehow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Avilan the Grey View Post
    Most of the time it's because people want MORE of the last game (game "N"). Not everyone finds enjoyment in replaying an old game indefinitely; sooner or later you want to move on. The problem is that if there is no game that caters to the "feeling" you got when playing game N, you are basically SOL.
    To my mind the important distinction here is between being disappointed in a game because it isn't fun, and being disappointed in a game because it doesn't ape the previous game to a sufficient degree. That just tends to come off as a bit self-indulgent somehow, like the person didn't try to engage with what they were playing and instead stormed off in a fit of righteous nerd rage.

    If there's one thing the internet does not need, it's more nerd rage.

    And in this case it wasn't even like a lot of the things they changed were anything but well documented before release. There was even a pre-release demo I believe. If somebody doesn't pay attention to what the company is telling them about ther game, doesn't bother with the demo, the culprit of their subsequent unhappiness is pretty much entirely them.


    The criticism against DA2 can be summarized in these points. Note that not all players agree on all points:

    1. They changed the gameplay from DA:O, making it much more "console-y".
    Changing gameplay in sequels is one of those things that happen. Not I think something unknown before release.

    2. They removed the Origins, forcing you to play a human character with a specific origin.
    Also well publicized beforehand. And since the origin stories were kinda Origins thing (being in the title and all) not terribly surprising either.

    3. They introduced the dialogue wheel and a voiced main character.
    Like in their other flagship RPG series over which fans and critics were drooling? Can't imagine why they did that. 'Cides which, anything that reduces the protagonist's uncanny resemblance to a fencepost can't be all bad.

    4. They made the game extremely railroaded and made your choices irrelevant.
    An actual criticism of the game.

    5. They ruined Anders, making him one of the most hated characters ever in video game history.
    Sucks when that happens.

    6. The story is too depressing to be entertaining or even interesting.
    Totally a matter of opinion. The best story I've played this year (or pretty much any year) is consistently and horrifically depressing. Being sad, unpleasant and generally a downer has no bearing on story quality or interest for a lot of people. Besides, if every single story has to end happily, the happiness gets a bit trite.

    7. The story is too dependant on NPC Idiot Balls to work properly.
    So, just like the moron infested first game then?

    8. The changed graphics are worse than in the first game, and recurring characters looks nothing alike. (And the darkspawn looks like deranged cuddly toys).
    Both games looked like crap as far as I could tell, both technically and artistically. They did chance crappy art styles from Origins to II, but this is really a case where pretty much everybody had to see it coming. I find it hard to drum up much respect for an argument that boils down to 'I looked at a bunch of screenshots and trailers and hated 'em, so I went out and bought it anyway. Now I'm angry the ugly thing I bought is ugly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beowulf DW View Post
    Well, as for the "happy" part, the Warden certainly was able to improve the lot of many people. But nothing was ever completely fixed (except maybe for the dwarves if you choose to back the prince).
    Even that is hardly a perfect result. Bhelen may achieve a net positive result for his people, but it comes at the cost of the lives of nearly everyone in House Harrowmont. They were just innocent bystanders.
    Last edited by Candle Jack; 2012-11-16 at 03:29 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Candle Jack View Post
    Even that is hardly a perfect result. Bhelen may achieve a net positive result for his people, but it comes at the cost of the lives of nearly everyone in House Harrowmont. They were just innocent bystanders.
    True, but then, it's either one family now, or the entire dwarven civilization later.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    Fortunately, a Monk 1/Warblade 19 uses Iron Heart Surge to end the Monk character class, and the day is saved.

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    Also, house wars happen in Dwarven society, if I remember correctly, so it's more or less natural.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Candle Jack View Post
    Even that is hardly a perfect result. Bhelen may achieve a net positive result for his people, but it comes at the cost of the lives of nearly everyone in House Harrowmont. They were just innocent bystanders.
    I think the whole point of the Orzammar sequence was to point out that sometimes, there are no innocent bystanders, and that sometimes the complete dickbag is the better choice.

    If you're doing the good-guy path it's almost natural to side with Harrowmont over Aeducan, which is what makes the eventual result such a punch in the nads.

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    As I said DA:O was not roses and unicorns. But it was far Happier as pointed out above. Ending the blight, in itself, is itself proof of that.

    Also, I know a lot of the things above was "well known beforehand" (the story was not, btw). People pre-ordered anyway, because they loved DA:O and Bioware and trusted them to make a fun game. Also many people who really didn't like these design decisions choose NOT to buy the game, but that also means they criticized that particular design decision (whichever they had a problem with)

    As for the argument that "People liked the voiced character / dialogue wheel in the ME series so there is nothing to complain about here"... It's just not a valid argument:

    1. They are two different franchises, with two different play styles (old school RPG vs TPS Action RPG (or at least the first DA game was old school)).

    2. Due to point 1, the fanbase is only overlapping to a certain degree. Many people who bought DA:O bought it because they wanted to go back to the roots of the genre, not because they liked ME. And even many of those who truly enjoy the ME games still wanted something completely different when they bought the DA games.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Avilan the Grey View Post
    5. They ruined Anders, making him one of the most hated characters ever in video game history.
    I thought they did a brilliant job making me hate him that much.
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    I've been staying out of this thread up til now because I wasn't interested in getting into another argument about the merits of DA2, but I really feel the need to weigh in at this point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Avilan the Grey View Post
    To each his or her own. I didn't HATE the controls, but I did dislike them, and I hated the inferior camera. Of course I prefer old fashioned RPG controls, like in DA:O or BG.
    I played both games on PC and found the controls and camera in 2 significantly superior.

    Quote Originally Posted by Avilan the Grey
    It is not a hollow complaint if you do not like those kind of things. In fact the addition of the dialogue wheel and the voiced character is one of the MAJOR complaints against the game (I do not have a problem with it, as I said); many fans of BG and DA:O dubbed this game "Dragon Effect 2" due to this, for instance, and it was not a term of endearment.
    Funny how people like this in ME, but not in DA2. Especially since one of the major complaints about Origins was the silent protagonist and how the origins had no impact on the main story. Bioware only had two options with the origins. Either expand the concept to have an actual effect on the story or remove it entirely in favor of a single well-developed protagonist with an actual personality. I can't fault them for choosing the latter.

    Quote Originally Posted by Avilan the Grey
    Many people have expressed this complaint but it tend to be baked into the complaint regarding the railroading and the lack of meaningful choices. I broke the two appart in my list above but usually the complaint goes "No matter what I do everything goes to hell!".

    I am comparing this game to the rest of the Bioware portfolio, and that includes DA:O. Origins was a MUCH happier game; you really felt like you were making a difference! (and that is the main difference!). Yes, the world is a dark and horrible place. But there is genuine hope; the warden is truly HELPING, and the choices you make can (unless you are a moron or a true bastard) really make Ferelden a better place. DA2 reeks of "Let's punch the player in the stommach as many times as we can! Let's make his brother die! Let's make his sister be caught by the templars! Let's make Anders a truly evil psychopath!
    I can't decide if the writers truly thought this was a more "deep and meaningful" / "artsy" choice or if they just decided to troll DA:O players.

    As I said, I don't play games to make myself feel bad. Quite the opposite.
    (which btw is why I would never consider playing The Path, for example).
    We've had this argument before, I'm not touching this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Avilan the Grey
    My point is that the graphics, as demanding as they are on your computer, sucks. And for the record the complaint is that the darkspawn (and most other enemies too) looks LESS scary. My first reaction when I saw the DA2 ogre was "OOO big teddy bear! Lets give it hugses!". Basically the DA2 graphics have a number of flaws:

    1. The over all style is far more cartoony. This is on purpose, however so I guess they succeeded with that.

    2. The armors look LESS realistic than in DA:O. They all look like they are made of plastic, to boot (something with the surface effects).

    3. The monster designs are disappointing, especially the darkspawn but also demons.

    4. The deliberately change of certain characters (Isabella went from "Awesome sexy caucasian rogue" to "Dark skinned porn star with piercings"

    5. The complete failure when it comes to make recurring NPC characters (Leliana, Alistair etc) look even remotely like their old selfs.

    Now there is one good thing: The qunari looks good.
    If you're going to complain about the game, at least don't make stuff up.

    1. Nope.

    2. Don't know what armors you were looking at. This wasn't true for any of the armors that I saw.

    3. The ogre's design is almost identical to Origins, merely lacking the elongated snout and having a different skin color. The demons have exactly the same designs as they did in Origins.

    4. So you're disappointed that Isabella actually has a unique character model instead of being Generic Female Rogue #7. I call that improvement.

    5. Alistair and Leliana look the same as they did in Origins.

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoVid
    I thought they did a brilliant job making me hate him that much.
    Thank you, NeoVid. It's nice to have the opinion of someone who actually played the whole game.
    Last edited by Knight13; 2012-11-16 at 08:25 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeoVid View Post
    I thought they did a brilliant job making me hate him that much.
    I think part of the problem is that in Awakening Anders wasn't a giant idiot like, well, every other mage ever. Cause I mean the whole thing with the mages is that they're trying to convince people that they can be trusted to live outside of a repressive cult structure and the way they intend to prove this is by turning into demons and eating people every single time.

    And in this context Anders' original personality, where his greatest desire in life was to be lying on a beach somewhere being given drinks out of coconut shells by women in skimpy robes would have actually been interesting and validated some of what the mages were saying and given Hawke a reason to take his side in the matter.

    Whereas in DA2 he is a giant idiot, and so is everyone else and Hawke's life, as well as the lives of everyone else in kirkwall, would be improved by him immediately murdering every party member upon joining so they couldn't do whatever enormously stupid thing they would do to generate drama for Hawke to solve. (which I actually did in one DA1 game).

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