Dragon Age II - Final Thoughts

The lead designer of BioWare's epic fantasy role-playing game shares his thoughts on the development of Dragon Age II and the reaction it has received since its release.

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The release of Dragon Age II sparked a controversy among the role-playing game community. Some enjoyed the changes BioWare had made in its follow-up RPG. Others decried BioWare for purportedly neglecting its most ardent fans with simplified mechanics. We spoke to Mike Laidlaw, lead designer on Dragon Age II, to get his thoughts on the debate, the reasoning behind some of the changes, and what he thinks of the finished product.

GameSpot: How do you think the reception for Dragon Age II would have been different if this had been the first game in the series?

Mike Laidlaw: I think it would have been different--exactly how is probably hard to tell, at this point. When you think about Dragon Age, one of the things that comes to mind is the legacy, going back to the Baldur's Gate games and that kind of thing. Actually, [that comparison] was drawn during Origins. It was an explicit, spiritual successor kind of connection. Certainly, I think Origins did a very good job of following in that vein. What Dragon Age II does, or what I perceive it as doing, is take a lot of those gameplay elements--working together as a team, functioning as a combat unit, having a story that unfolds with choices (all of those core things that I see as principal to both Baldur's Gate and, more importantly, to Dragon Age)--and tries to bring some newer ideas to the table (elements of responsiveness, elements of interactivity in the way those fights are coordinated) into what I think is a more modern setting and expectation. For most players, the idea of the solo combat is surprising.

I do think Dragon Age II is running up against some elements of Origins, and it's not something we went into completely blind. We certainly knew there would be some friction between what Origins players have come to expect and what Dragon Age II delivers. But I don't see the two in opposition to each other. I've talked to Origins players who said, "As soon as I moved it to hard, I totally see where Origins is again." That's fair, and I think that's something over time we'll continue to tune and capitalize on that fusion between the Origins experience and Dragon Age II.

"We certainly knew there would be some friction between what Origins players have come to expect and what Dragon Age II delivers."

GS: In terms of the story in Dragon Age II, it feels like Hawke's rise in Kirkwall comes at the expense of the gameworld as a whole. In contrast, the player saw and learned a lot about the world in Origins. Is the idea that Dragon Age II has a narrower focus and lacks the broader context a fair assessment of the story?

ML: The goal that we were going for is twofold. First, we did want to focus in on a more personal experience--the experience of one person and not the avatar of an organization. To be quite frank, that's a story we told before, and while there's nothing wrong with it, we really wanted to challenge ourselves to not have you end up in the Jedi Order or a Child of Baal, what have you. The story is tighter, and what I think it does is it moves through time in a way that we move through space in Origins.

In Origins, we very much had a mandate to bring a new fantasy world to life--one country, specifically, of a new fantasy world to life. And we moved around through that. But really, what I want to see Dragon Age II set up is a world that's evolving over time just in the same way that Ferelden, as the Blight advanced, evolved through space. When I look where Dragon Age II leaves us, it leaves us with a phase that's inherently more interesting--one where we see strife and things falling apart. This is in stark contrast to the ending of Origins, where we saw things resolved. Oh good, the Blight's over. That's great. We can all go back to minor politicking, which as comfortable as that would be makes for a far less compelling world to be in.

So, in that respect, I think the narrow focus of Dragon Age II really does what we originally hoped to do, which is to say, "This is an event. We want to change the world." As our lead writer said, we want to kick over the sand castle we just built to change something and to show that this is a dynamic space. But we don't want to do it in a way that's just a heavy-handed, "And then a war started!" What we wanted to do is show in a uniquely Dragon Age way this is something that people and real passions and motivations got involved in. It wasn't just an event that happened because it seemed convenient for the narrative.

GS: In terms of the creative process, can you talk about how the story came together and how the final product compares to the initial ideas the team had?

ML: That last answer covers a lot of what we wanted to achieve--the changing of the world and evolving it over time. Obviously, there are a million small permutations that change over the course of any game's development, but really, the scope and the movement of Hawke, from Ferelden survivor--something that ties it to Origins--to champion of Kirkwall, and the chaos that ensues as a result of that, is pretty much the original story arc we envisioned. In the same way that Loghain is a comprehensible villain, such as it is, we wanted to make sure that we were telling the story of a descent into madness in a lot of ways. It's driven by miscommunication, suspicion--human motivations rather than some sort of overarching evil.

GS: Companions are a big part of the series. For Dragon Age II, what was the process for selecting these companions? Did you start with a list of archetypes and fill in the details, or was it a more organic, one-at-a-time process?

ML: It tends to be more organic than some sort of list. But at some point, you have to make sure you have a reasonably balanced party and that the classes, genders, and races are represented in a fair way. If we made a party that was entirely dwarves--even if they were incredibly interesting--some of them would have to end up on the shelf for later use. [They might be] characters with their own motivations and goals, but ones that don't work together well as a complete party. What we tend to do when looking at companions is we start with who would be interesting and, honestly, who would make sense. What characters would potentially arrive here? What characters would tie back to the old game, but not necessarily make people say, "Oh, it's just Alistair again." We develop them and we always develop more than we end up using because there are some that would be great, but they don't fit for whatever reason--be it mechanical or story driven. Often, what those do is they end up in our minds, waiting for the future.

GS: The personalities of the characters in Dragon Age II--some reviews have pointed out that they feel more subdued than the characters in Origins. Was that a conscious decision, or was that a natural byproduct of having a main character with more personality?

ML: It's maybe a combination of those two things. Certainly, the main character having a stronger personality, one where you are able to provide sarcasm, [instead of] having you be the straight man and relying on someone else chiming in for the laughs. But at the same time, when you're looking at a cast of characters like the one in Origins, they're remembered fondly. They always are. So when you're sitting down and playing Dragon Age II for the first time, you're instantly contrasting and comparing to those characters that, in a lot of ways, became your friends--in the way we all kind of empathize with fictional characters. We all wish we could hang out with Aragorn.

On first blush, it's easy to dismiss the new people as nowhere near as cool as the old people. But what I see with Dragon Age II is that the characters, perhaps, don't wear their hearts on their sleeves as much simply because they don't have to, because we have more time for them to evolve and grow. The story arc around Aveline--to use one of our best examples--is more involved than any character story arc we had in Origins. Not to say the Origins characters don't have their involved arcs, and certainly couldn't have them in the future, but it's something we consider a byproduct of the way the game is structured. Later on, the characters have as much or more personality than they did before.

"The characters, perhaps, don't wear their hearts on their sleeves as much simply because they don't have to[…]"

GS: In terms of interacting with these companions or other characters in the game, how do you feel about the way the dialogue wheel came together and how it made things a little more clear and direct?

ML: I'm very happy with it. The wheel, as a whole, provides a couple of really cool advantages. It lets us hold more conversation options than we had available in Origins where we had a cap of six. We technically have a cap of 10, so you can get a nice, cleaner interface to ask questions for clarification. I love the investigate system. It also provides what I see as the prize behind every door insofar as when you read a line of Origins dialogue for comparison, you see everything you could potentially say. In your brain, you've done the totality of that conversation. Whereas looking and saying, "Oh, I know that's going to be a smart-aleck line, but I don't feel it'd be right to use it," you're left with that temptation or that urge to pick it because you can't tell exactly what you'll say. What I think is the key gain with the icons is that you do know it will be sarcastic, which allows you to make a much clearer choice about how you want to interact with characters. If it was going to be suave or if it was going to be diplomatic, you know at a glance rather than having some confusion around what might happen.

Text is always a pretty horrible medium for conveying sarcasm or sincerity. Being able to put a heart, as much as you could argue that you could tell, lets you say, "OK, I'm certain with this choice. I'm not making it blind." That's very important when you want to associate yourself with a character.

GS: You have less control over your companions since you can't equip them directly as you can Hawke. Can you describe the idea behind this particular change, and did you feel that you might be running the risk of players not feeling as much of a connection to those characters?

ML: The key driver behind it was the idea of unique visuals, being able to have Isabela stay Isabela instead of generic rogue put into the same leather armor your character is wearing. It lets us create a visual space between Hawke and the companions. And it gives the companions their own personalities [in the form of] unique body models and animations that are tied to how they idle--simple stuff like Aveline and the way she stands with more of a straightforward stance as opposed to the cocked hip Isabela has and so on. The overall goal there was to keep the companions in a place where they had more personality, but still provide customization in terms of amulets and rings, because having things like fire resistance is important.

Long term, do I think it hurt people's connection to them? I don't think so. I think if anything, the criticisms I've seen leveled at that are largely, "I don't like it, simply because I either want to control them or I don't." That's fair and something we'll end up evaluating over time. It's likely that we'll end up coming back to a way to equip your followers, but at the same time, I really do think that having their own visual signature is really important. It's something that resolves one of the parts I really disliked about Origins where I'd see people's screenshots with their badass team and they would kind of all look the same. Near the end of the game, everyone had the same set of suits of armor. It was kind of like, "Man, that's not Morrigan if she's not in those robes." We ended up in this space where we decided to go with that visual style, and I think it's something we'll continue to iterate on in the future.

GS: Did you toy with the idea of tying the equipment system with the relationship system? For example, you can equip a character only if you've built a positive relationship with him or her.

ML: To a degree, it was something we considered. You'll notice that if you have Merrill or Anders move in with you, they'll change outfits in response to getting out of Lowtown or Darktown. It's something where I think there's a lot of weight behind it whether it's an unlockable reward for earning their companionship or if it's something where their visual signature remains the same, but has more evolutions. Potentially, it could go so far as letting you change to a certain class of armor, but keeping their visual style the same so that they maintain a consistency, even though you still have control over their inventory. These are all things for us to explore.

GS: The most noticeable change for combat is how much faster it is. Looking at the final product, do you feel the team was able to hit that sweet spot between being quick and reactive while still allowing for strategy and planning out moves ahead of time?

ML: I think it's close. There's some tuning to be done, but I'm much happier with the overall feel of the combat in Dragon Age II than I was with Origins. Origins brought some amazing team-based play into the fray, and I know that the systems driving the two games are identical in terms of which stats are checked and how the combat is calculated. But the overall feel that as a warrior I don't have to gamely amble forward to begin my attack is something that creates a consistency between classes. If I have someone nearby who can launch fire from their hands and explode enemies, I don't feel that just because I'm wearing plate-mail I should have to trudge forward to begin combat.

Obviously, there's balance to be done. Certainly, we made some changes in terms of what I think of as the barrier to entry. Origins, especially on the PC, was very difficult unless you were already an RPG veteran. Now, that's a more realistic [difficulty]. It's something to continue to tune, and this is a first outing with something that has almost endless potential.

"There's some tuning to be done, but I'm much happier with the overall feel of the combat in Dragon Age II than I was with Origins."

GS: When you made that change, did it feel like a big gamble at the time?

ML: I felt very confident about it. There are people who dislike that change, and that's perfectly fine. That was not unknown because it's a bit of a paradigm shift in that it moves some fundamentals in a different direction. But what it doesn't do is sacrifice the overall goal for Dragon Age, which I've said before is the idea of teamwork being an important and key part of the franchise--having a party and not just a single character. Ultimately, I think the game controls better on all four platforms, but we knew it was something that would create some response. We knew at first blush people would look at it and say, "Oh god! What is that?" We saw that coming in some of our early demos, but the simple truth is that I've seen innumerable people say, "This is way better. There are some issues--things to be resolved overall with the game--but the combat is more fun to play." To me, that's really the goal.

GS: A lot of PC fans have talked about the removal of the tactical camera. What was the decision process for removing that instead of keeping it in there as an alternate perspective?

ML: The perspective we had for the tactical camera in Origins, with its extreme pull-up, created a very different approach for the way we designed levels. What it really created was restrictions on the way we designed levels. Things like Hightown with the chantry vaulting up into the distance would have been very difficult to achieve in that kind of tactical camera simply because of the way spaces and levels were constructed. With that in mind, we looked at getting enough space to move the camera in and out to be able to position it, and I think the main complaint seems to be that it's tethered to my character. At the same time, it's something that represents a change that's still very playable. It's just become a hot-button issue because it's a difference between Origins and Dragon Age II.

GS: With so much of the focus in Dragon Age II placed on the quicker pace of combat, are there any changes to the combat system that you think are overshadowed and overlooked?

ML: The thing I find most intriguing is the concern that combat has been dumbed down because the earlier fights are less punishing and because they are faster. Somehow this translates immediately into stupid, which I strongly disagree with. There's some balance tweaking that we will continue to do through patches, but really, the things I see in combat are being able to rely on characters to execute orders quickly and being able to rely on cross-class combos, which are a significant step up in terms of their overall usefulness--the premeditation of building them within your party as you level up rather than them being something that's just inherently available in the game if you happen to pick the right set of spells and use them in a certain way. That, to me, is a much simpler system--one that is reasonably opaque, not one that you can plan for unless you've read extensive FAQs before. When I hold up Dragon Age II to my goals for what we want to do with the franchise--that idea of team-based combat being central--then cross-class combos represent a very good step in the right direction, feeling like my mage and my warrior are more powerful together than they are apart.

GS: It seems like one of the big counterarguments to dumbed-down combat is that you still have advanced tactics slots that let you get into the nitty-gritty flow of combat. Did the team experiment with the idea of bringing those to the forefront of combat, or did they feel comfortable keeping them as an optional feature tucked away for the more advanced player?

ML: Tactics are really there for the more advanced player. The danger of tactics is that if you fiddle without intent, it's pretty easy to make a character that doesn't do anything that's particularly good. That's why we have the presets like the defender and supporter for the different classes, so you can get a quickly automatically generated and updating version of a tactics table--as you buy new abilities, your AI works better. In terms of what tactics allows you to do is something that is a very powerful option. It's there for advanced players, for sure, or for people who want to play on harder difficulties, and it's something I love to use myself. But I don't think it's particularly welcoming or something that I would want to integrate as core gameplay. It's a "with great power comes great responsibility" system where it's possible to make your characters do nothing as a result of it. I think it's best if someone seeks it out, looks up tutorials, messes with it in a way that they have an intent to understand how it works and to play at a higher level.

GS: Not everybody is an armchair game designer. Some people might just break the system, right?

ML: Right, but at the same time, I think if it's something you like and something you want to do, that's something we identified from Origins feedback--people feeling perturbed that they had to spend points they normally would have put into persuade to get tactics slots. As you level up, the complexity can grow. The overall cap is higher than it was before. There are people that love that system, so we wanted to take the reins off and let them run with it.

"My opinion of the Origins skills is that they were a little vestigial."

GS: The team made some major changes to skill trees and how they branch out, and removed some skill trees entirely. Can you take us back to the early days of Dragon Age II development and how you approached the skill trees?

ML: The removal, such as they were, was really the skills. My opinion of the Origins skills is that they were a little vestigial. They were there, and they certainly served their purpose in terms of putting points into crafting, and as a result of putting points in crafting, I can now make cooler things. That's very good, but the problem is, because we're providing a party where you can have a B team--to use the old Final Fantasy terminology--you could have Oghren as a master herbologist, mixing together all of your potions at camp rather than having you feel like you're making a meaningful sacrifice. You just have a character you simply didn't use who covered that base for you. Again, looking at that, we thought that really wasn't rewarding. It's more just kind of a pain. Survival being not exactly the most compelling skill and persuade being one that I personally felt was never particularly strong simply because it's an abstraction of natural charisma, which we in turn tried to turn it into, "OK, did you bring the right follower with you? Do you have the right personality to pull this off?"

That was the removal of a system that provided little gain towards an extra step for character progression. Then, of course, looking at the talents, which are the spells or abilities--to me, they open themselves up by being a web instead of a chain. They allowed for greater customization. They allowed people to dabble and yet still get to the ability they wanted in the tree. They also allowed for things, like a certain school like entropy to have focuses where you can say, "If I go up this tree, I'm the more damaging, hex-related side, or if I go up this tree, I'm the more sleep and disabling side." This means you don't have to invest fully in the tree just to partake in a part that you want to use as a part of your strategy.

GS: Are you confident in how the trees came together, or do you feel there's still some room for improvement?

ML: I would question anyone who was 100 percent confident in anything they've designed. There's always room to improve, and there's always room to tune and look what effects they have. Are there enough upgrades? Do there need to be more? Less? But what I am confident in is that I feel those trees are visually-- and in terms of gameplay--more interesting. They're something that provide greater flexibility in character, and that, to me, is an excellent change.

GS: Were there any features that you simply didn't have time to implement or any features that would be best preserved for the next Dragon Age game?

ML: There always are. A number of them are set aside briefly to be explored later. What I really understand about Dragon Age II is that we retooled a lot of the game and set ourselves up for a greater challenge by trying to retool it--combat falls into this case--in a lot of fundamental ways while still trying to capture the same feel. It would have been much easier to explode the whole thing and say, "Ah, whatever. You control one character and you don't have any conversation options. There." That's an easier game to make, but that's not Dragon Age at that point. Looking at the fundamentals and looking at the overall pacing and flow became our focus for Dragon Age II, and the thing we have a mandate to do is add in suitable and fitting additional activities. My next big goal is to make sure that there are deeper interactions with crafting or the next steps in terms of being able to do more than talk, fight, and disarm traps.

There's a fairly wide spread of things to do. But I think as a player, saying "OK cool. You did a lot of cool work here, but I would like more. I'd like to be able to interact with my world more"--that's a perfectly fair request, and that's one we're hoping to address as we go forward.

GS: Regarding the process by which you guys gather feedback and assess whether it's viable for the next game, is it the same process you used when Origins shipped, or have you learned more about the validity of fan feedback this time around?

ML: It's always valid. You have to take a read of what the fans are saying, what reviews are saying, and what the non-fans are saying. Are there people out there who are saying, "I could not play Origins, but love Dragon Age II" or "I couldn't play Origins and this is more of the same." You have to keep your ear to the ground. Look at forums. Take a look at what comments are coming up. What are the common concerns? What are the common perceptions? I think the big key is to not adjust 180 degrees again, because we've done this. I think, as a team, we're quite happy with what we've done with Dragon Age II, and this is establishing a solid foundation that keeps a lot, in fact almost everything I want to keep about Origins, but still has tons of room to grow and, frankly, a more viable future for the franchise. It's one that's more sustainable because we brought the world to a place that's inherently more interesting than "Yay, we beat the Blight. Good for us!"

"The big key is to not adjust 180 degrees again, because we've done this."

GS: How does this spot you're in right now compare to, when you first started Dragon Age, where you thought you might end up after a second game in the series? Are you largely where you expected to be?

ML: For context, our original expectation for this franchise was established when we were working on Jade Empire. That goes back a ways. Where we're at right now is a franchise that has a strong-enough fan base and interest base that we're able to see strong reactions, both positive and negative, to change. To me, what that means is that people are engaged with it and people care. That was always really the goal--to bring a fantasy property to life from nothing and to create a world and a space that makes people intrigued and curious to see more. They're hungry to find out what happens next.

From the roots of where things were at in terms of combat and gameplay to where we are now, I see things as--I wouldn't say a progression--a refinement that takes into account the sensibility of it being 2011 and a number of the fundamental gameplay changes we've seen across all genres. So, the increased speed to me is an understanding that most games now have this level of responsiveness, but the thing we desperately don't want to lose is the idea that Dragon Age has an alchemy that makes it special. It has party members. It has banter. It has equipping stuff--some of those amazing, classic RPG mechanics that I loved since playing Wasteland or the original Bard's Tale. We wanted to make RPGs, especially fantasy RPGs, accessible, cool, and interesting to people who have been playing RPGs for the last seven years and not realizing that every time they ate food or went for a long run in Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, they were essentially grinding constitution.

To me, that represents a huge audience that may have disregarded RPGs, especially fantasy, as being too hardcore or too confusing. And making certain changes to make the game palatable without ripping out the mechanics that make RPGs so fascinating to a stats guy or what have you. It keeps this genre evolving into something that's fresh and not stagnating.

Discussion

1277 comments
garcia_jx
garcia_jx

completed it in 20 hours. Was too bored to do all the side quests.

Leonagard
Leonagard

I thought I liked this game but at the end I just feel losing my time doing quests on reused scenarios again and again and again A RUSH GAME FOR ME!! dont woth 60 bucks!... I like the action but in the end it look mindless compared to any other RPG... I didnt care about character creation but do care abous the scenarios.... I still cant believe... why not getting DAO maps to add some depth?

Babybluedrop
Babybluedrop

I thought this was the worse game I have played ever. A broken battle system, a lackluster story, over used environments for an RPG, pretty much poor everything.

frazzle00
frazzle00

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DarkGamerkill
DarkGamerkill

Ive totally deleted this game from my memory. What dragon age 2 whats that i only know of the great dragon age origins?

TrueIori
TrueIori

@frazzle00 Yes they do , they just tell it in a different way, that being in open game world so the story does not feel as cohesive, but their stories are just as good as any one out there. Plus what I am excited about the most is the improvements you can see they are making to Elder Scroll , something that can't be said about DAII but w/e Haters going hate.

jetteer
jetteer

IMO the characters were more interesting in DA2 than in DA:O, the thing that let this game down was the repetitive quest grinding. It just felt like a grind to the end... It feels like they were trying to make a single player MMO. It is still a good game despite the grind.

desmonkey
desmonkey

I loved Origins, I missed out on sleep for that game, but Dragon Age II is just an overall lesser experience. Story is lesser, companion interactions are lesser, immersion is lesser, the only thing they added, that wasn't just taken from the Mass Effect series (or at least I didn't notice), is that enemies now re-spawn in groups of 20 until you're actually forced into some kind of corner. Say what you want about combat in Origins, at least then I wasn't killing 120 fanatics in a single battle...only for 120 more to spawn directly on top of my spellcaster

frazzle00
frazzle00

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

frazzle00
frazzle00

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

edinsftw
edinsftw

The main part that annoys me is that in all honesty the games whole story could have been done in the first 5 hours of origins with the same ammount of depth.

tanman77_au
tanman77_au

was pretty dissapointed with DA2.... I loved DA-Origins and finished it 3 times using diff classes.... but with DA2 i really cant be bothered coz its more kinda narrow and story's boring... Epic fail!!! & i brought it too..... thinking Bioware games are always Masterpeices... shouldnt have been cheap on my downloads and downloaded the demo first....

Evilnator
Evilnator

Just forget the whole Hawke DAII thing. Pretend it never happened it was just a random story told by a random dwarf, and is completely irrelevant. Do it, for the sake of Dragon Age.

TheGreatOldOne
TheGreatOldOne

"Who asked you to play the game on normal? Origins on normal is a cake walk as well. Seriously dude, if you're such a "hardcore gamer" man up and play the game on hard or nightmare" Already done that. I always play rpgs on normal first, and had to mention that bit about the final boss because it was a microcosm of how *difficult* this game truly is. Hard wasn't that more difficult to be honest, and nightmare was comparable to hard in Origins if you ask me. The combat is more difficult but not more challenging since it requires little adjustment save for more potion use.

frazzle00
frazzle00

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TheGreatOldOne
TheGreatOldOne

"The combat in DA2 is more challenging than it is in Origins (played both on hard). And a 50 hour demo ..... really?" You've got to be kidding me! Final showdown on normal difficulty, 1st try wound up slaughtering everything, not a single potion of any kind used and not a single healing spell cast. I've never experienced that in ANY RPG game, let alone Origins. This game is pretty and dumb and offers no challenge at all to most veterans. The only noteworthy fights that require some skill are Xebenkeck and (to some extent) the High Dragon.

frazzle00
frazzle00

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itachi100
itachi100

The only thing good about Dragon Age II was the flashiness of the combat. If it didn't have that, I would have hated it.

madmaniek
madmaniek

I like dragon age 2. Its a good game :)

SadisticSid
SadisticSid

DA2 was a shadow of Origins, because they rushed out a sequel in next to no time at all compared with the development time they put into the original. And it really, really suffered in gameplay and story terms because of that. Can't be bothered to let you customize your NPCs' equipment because of mesh/artwork limitations? Just hack in some numerical 'upgrades' and call it an immersion feature. Can't be bothered to design more than a couple of dozen environments? Stick in immovable doors, rotate the scenery a bit and hope the players don't notice the maps are identical. New skill trees? No, let's just rehash the old ones and make more abilities into simple stat boosts. If they'd had the foresight to build a concept they could expand upon (like the gameplay in BG2, and the story in ME2) this would have been a sequel to remember. This Bioware mouthpiece knows that DA2 is a marketable but markedly inferior product riding on the coattails of its forebear. I hope they can be bothered to make ME3 a proper game instead of another knockoff.

ruythalacker
ruythalacker

Forgot to say: BALDUR'S GATE RULES!!!!!!! I would love to have a remake of the game.

ruythalacker
ruythalacker

Question to all you guys: aren't they triyng to do with this franchise what they did with ME? I mean, in ME you have Shepard as a big galactic hero and in DAO the hero might die at the end, so you can't use him for the second game, so you create a new hero and introduce him in a DA2 to solve a real mess in DA3. Mind you guys I haven't finished DA2 yet, but even thought the story equals nothing until now and they removed lots of its RPG essence, I'm enjoying the game.

warcry08
warcry08

I'm so sad, because it just seems that they did not put any effort into it. So many things repeat themselves and its nice that you can actually hear "hero" voice, but response is same even is you take the "bad boy" option. Dragon Age Origins Had endless replay value, but nothing in here wants to bring you back. Also, whats with the trailer? I saw Hawk battling with Qunari boss with a 2H blade and in the end he used some magic(blood magic possibly, because of his hand in hes bloody arm). So another lie? It seems that the success of DAO went into their head and wanted to "improve".

General_Blue200
General_Blue200

It was a genuinely awful game. Dragon Age Origins feels like the sequel to Dragon Age II. It's smoother, looks better, better features and just FEELS better. They really dropped the ball with Dragon Age II and I'll be thinking twice before I purchase any of their future games.

Merlanni
Merlanni

I am so glad that I did not get this game.

grennterror
grennterror

PLEASE NO TURN BASED COMBAT YOU KILL THE GAME IF YOU DO

chapman86
chapman86

In my opinion, the major problem with DA2 was that every quests are like this: 1) Go to location X 2) Talk to the guy Y 3) Y tells you to go to location Z 4) When you arrive at Z, there will be repetitive combat (about 5-10 times) 5) Find the boss A that Y told you to kill. 6) return to Y and claim award/200 XP. every single main quest/side quest is same formula and it gets boring too early. The main story is also rehashed version of Mage vs. Templar in DA:O. and all side quests are same as before (meaning, you find companions and do their loyalty quests) Bioware need to get more creative.

gamespotjulius
gamespotjulius

second rate game, worse than DA1 i'm sure few RPG gamers will disagree

whitemute
whitemute

I'm just so tired of giving my money to these greedy people....

DraconisRex
DraconisRex

None of the apologizing still covers the fact the first two-thirds of the game is fluff. The combat is a joke. The story in pointless, save for the very end where you find out you just paid $50 for a GLORIFIED PREQUEL to DA3 that should have been a demo! And that's a heck of an ending. The best review of this game on the Internet that exactly and completely sums up all that is wrong with this piece of junk: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/zero-punctuation/2978-Dragon-Age-II He's right, it's another ballroom on their Golden Money Palace. His best bit: "Original thought was, apparently, at such a premium that they couldn't even think of a subtitle. I can think of a few... Dragon Age Intermission. Dragon Age Loading. Or perhaps just Dragon Age Bleah."

zisha
zisha

DA2 was a step in the wrong direction. While i liked to some extend the faster pace of combat, the game ultimately lost a lot of depth that made DAO so great. In an attempt to appeal to the lowest common denominator, Bioware succeeded and created a nice and average game. I appreciate the work towards certain innovations, however, the sacrifices that were made for the sake of change didnt pay off.

derek_brown
derek_brown

@frazzle00 Yeah!!...you tell em.............we console gamers are a bit superior than your average pc gamers...........:D

derek_brown
derek_brown

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floater223
floater223

It felt a lot like they took the original, sucked most of the character development and environmental variety out of it, and then slapped Mass Effect on top of it to make it shiny. I liked some of the changes, but I have to say it sucks to see them describing the transition from Dragon Age: Origins to Dragon Age 2 as having a generally positive direction. That is, it sucks because I'll still buy Dragon Age 3 and they're probably betting on it :\

gho5ty
gho5ty

DA2 sucked end story.and guess what sucked even more crysis2 oh snap anyway back on da2 i agree with taff on this one i got the game and got dlc for it but after the start and maybe 10pct too 20 pct in game i quit i just hate seeing the same map over and over go here go there go am/pm dark/light crap.

frazzle00
frazzle00

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Taffelost
Taffelost

The PC version of DA2 was a massive dissapointment to me. I can understand that you have to simplify things for the consoles as there's obvious limitations in graphics, controls and appeal to the average console gamer. You don't however have to bring those limitations over to the PC. It's getting more and more apparent to me that the impact consoles are making on gaming as a whole is not a good one. At least to me it isn't. I can of course not speak for everyone else.

zhamar
zhamar

I am an avid Bioware Gamer, I got all the expansions and addons for Dragon Age, and I almost pre-ordered DAO2 but I decided to wait for the reviews and I am glad I did, because Bioware messed it up in DAO2. I am waiting for Mass Effect 3 .

SimulationStim
SimulationStim

Regurgitated level design(I explored almost the whole game in the first act, with the exception of the Inner Gallows but that was reused in the second act in a dream sequence), boring npcs(females sucked, almost all gay romance choices), and almost no replay-ability when directly compared to DAO. Even DA-Awakening was most compelling, and had more replay value then this game. Plus they want to sell me a character right out of the box. This is why annual rpgs don't work. Bioware has really embarrassed themselves with this one. For once I agree with the all the fickle gamers out there, this game was half-assed to the max.

gsmull
gsmull

There have been an awful lot of flaming of this game on the various websites. I can see where they are coming from since they had expectations that were not met from DAO. But I would hope that people would judge the game on it's own merits and compare it to what else is out there. This is still a good game with uniquely compelling RPG features and tactical combat options that make it replayable. There are still many enjoyable things that you simply will not get from Witcher 2 or TES: Skyrim. I think some people are too quick to throw the baby out with the bathwater. If you turn the difficulty level up you can get the same level of difficulty requiring more tactical fighting that you had in the first game. Did Bioware scale down and dumb down this game and should the devs take a long hard look in the mirror for doing it? I'd say yes. But the purpose of these changes to me is obvious. By narrowing the scope they were hoping to broaden the game's appeal, especially in the console realm of the business world. Are the changes a bit of a seemingly unnecessary gamble? I'd say yes. Will this work? Only a final tally of the dollars and cents will tell. Bioware cleaned up from people buying add-ons to DAO, and if that doesn't happen this time then it will speak more loudly to them than any flaming post. If it comes up short of financial expectations then you will see a DA3 that will play much more like DAO. If they clean up on the console market then DA3 will be more of the same.

docsmiley
docsmiley

@Aerya99: "I DO hope BIOWARE wakes up and does not trash DA3 as you done with DA2." Yeah, I'm sure DA3 will be a much better game... But I will never buy it to find out, and neither should any gamer with an ounce of self-respect. :-)

Aerya99
Aerya99

I must state that I am VERY dissapointed of DA2... - 1st is the caracter creation, compared with the DA:O PC characters look rough with no fine "tuning" possible; - 2nd are the new models... the elves look like a mix of goblins and elves... should rename them Golims (Golum reference there): - 3rd is the pre-ordering... I wanted to have a DA:O Collectors Edition BOX to place it near the Dragon Age: Collector Eddition and I got a normal DA2 dvd that I "hid" near the Awakening DVD. I DO hope BIOWARE wakes up and does not trash DA3 as you done with DA2. Can't wait till The Witcher 2 comes out because I will have what to play. Was this a 1 April joke? Because I didn't find it funny.

Aerya99
Aerya99

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jdc6305
jdc6305

I didn't play the first but I like the second a lot. I just finished playing 10 hours straight.

frazzle00
frazzle00

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derek_brown
derek_brown

feel bad for EA and Bioware they will need Peter Molyneux to sell the next DA...........hmmmm.......................................................its a great game though...........but needs a little work they shouldnt have rushed it............but i still love it...........

derek_brown
derek_brown

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LJELLZ
LJELLZ

I finished this and it's not even a bad game I guess I just had high expectations after loving DAO..