Dragon Age 2 Wants You Back

By Alec Meer on December 17th, 2010 at 10:10 pm.

There’s been a tangy whiff of “hmm” around Dragon Age 2 amongst the PC faithful, with the game apparently headed in something of a press all the buttons kill all the monsters press them kill them press them kill them direction we perhaps hadn’t expected from our beloved tactics’n'conversation opus. Turns out that perhaps we’ve got the wrong impression, though.

Now, while this video makes the bewildering mistake of primarily consisting of a chattering man filmed in near-darkness, it also very deliberately seeks to demonstrate that pause’n'play tactical combat remains present and correct in the PC version of the game.

That this video exists at all is more than a little fascinating: is this damage control after some journo-muttering in response to earlier killkillkill demos, or genuine, proud chest-thumping about the options the game offers? I honestly don’t know, but I appreciate the gesture regardless.

So, here is a video. You should watch it, and then have some manner of feeling about it. Do try not to be afraid of the darkness-clad bespectacled man, though.

I’ve not first-hand seen the demo that made Quinns “very nervous indeed,” so I’m not really in a position to be either reassured or unsettled by this one. It looks very much like Dragon Age: Origin’s tactical combat to me, but it all seems ever so fast and OTT. A short promotional video doth not a fair benchmark make, however. I have faith that Bioware appreciate the importance of DAO’s fanbase to DA2, and that we’re yet in for something suitably meaty and brainy.

Meat. Brains. Such is the stuff of life.

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146 Comments »

  1. Dyst says:

    I saw this earlier. The combat looks fine but is it just me or are the environments terrible? If they are a work in progress they shouldn’t really be showing them yet and if they aren’t then my god Bioware have gone down hill.

    • Lambchops says:

      No it wasn’t just you. It’s not often I look at some promotional stuff and think “my, that looks somewhat displeasing.” Hopefully this is just placeholder stuff they knocked up quickly in their desperation to appease people clamouring for traditional RPG style combat.

    • Danarchist says:

      Most games are ironically built similar to a house. You get your framing and wires all in place. Rough in the walls and floor. Have an inspector come in and make sure it isn’t going to fall on your head. Then you do the finish work. What your looking at im sure is the “Roughed in” version of the game before polish and lighting effects are hammered out. You have to make sure the game is functional first, e.g. you cant run through the walls, you dont get stuck on a wagon wheel etc. After that you torture your graphic artists for days while steadily feeding them rockstar and carbohydrates until all the turds are polished.
      People will get pissed if they don’t put any video, and people will get all up in arms over whatever they put out regardless. It is what it is.

    • Auspex says:

      I vaguely recall the developers saying that they were intentionally going for a more stripped down style (or words to that affect) this time, though I may have just imagined that. The demo I played at Eurogamer was even more bare than this video.

      It was also rubbish.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      Not only are the environments not detailed, the UI is horrendously ugly. Hopefully, that’s a placeholder.

    • Wulf says:

      One might even say that this looks phoned in, but I suspect it’ll get glowing reviews from all and sundry.

      *angry glare.*

    • Urael says:

      No, I’m not buying the ‘unfinished’ theory either. I’ve consistently stated on these threads that DA had the worst texturing I’ve seen in a modern game, that it looked like a 2004 release. There were no surprises in this video on that score: ugly game is still ugly.

    • Robert says:

      I don’t get all the hostility.

    • LarS1963 says:

      Edit: NMM

    • suibhne says:

      I also couldn’t help but notice the bad character pop-in at the beginning.

    • Ian says:

      Wulf: Wait…….. you’re not excited for this game?

      I’m surprised you didn’t comment expressing this feeling earlier in one of the other articles about the game.

  2. GenBanks says:

    I like the look of it, the combat seems to retain what made DA:O engaging.

    Doesn’t look like what happened with the pause button was very different from what happened without though. You’d have to be pretty quick to pull off that many moves without pausing.

    • jackflash says:

      Did anyone else notice how he never zoomed out to the Baldur’s Gate style camera? He seemed stuck in the slightly-zoomed-out-third-person camera. Does not bode well.

    • Veret says:

      Doesn’t need to bode anything; Bioware specifically said that there won’t be a top-down tactical view. Something about missing all the pretty artwork in the ceiling when you do that, I think.

      That’s going to make precision AoE spells rather frustrating to pull off, but at least the game still plays like it’s supposed to.

  3. KauhuK says:

    The flow of the battle seemed too fast. The rogue moved too quickly. The fighting in DAO felt more realistic than this new DA. I hope they have got the AI to better response when situation changes.

    • Danarchist says:

      I actually always got sorta mad at how slowly my rogue moved to engage archers etc. I mean my guy was a heroic master assasin with flaming weapons and dragon blood on his boots, why on earth does he move slower than my giant ass? I expect a armored tank to move plodding like they did in the original, this looks faster and more visceral. Hopefully there is a way to set up advanced tactics though, I hate having to individually tell my guys what to do ALL the time. Theres a guy with a bow aiming at you! Dont start casting “summon figgie pudding” while he takes aim!

    • Lambchops says:

      But we all want some figgy pudding . . .

    • jaheira says:

      So bring some out here!

  4. Inglourious Badger says:

    Ok, I’m going to risk the wrath of many RPSers here but….I didn’t really like the PC combat in Dragon Age and will actually dance a little jig if it’s removed in DA2. I loved the conversation/story elements of the game but all the combat felt like such a trudge. I still haven’t finished the game because every time something interesting happens there will no doubt be more bloody menu clicking combat. Or even worse, menu clicking combat where you are the only (woefully under powered) combatting character!

    I hate all that ‘selecting combat options from a menu’ combat because it never really feels like combat. And the word ‘tactical’ doesn’t really seem applicable either when all you ever do is tell everyone to attack everything with their mightiest attacks, with the ability to pause proceedings removing the need for any skill to keep up. I honestly don’t understand the appeal.

    Anyway Dyst makes a good point, is the finished game really going to look like that?

    • ScubaMonster says:

      You don’t navigate menus for combat. That’s only if you want to set up combat tactics for the AI, which is optional if you want to just control things yourself. Plus, you only set that up once then don’t have to touch it again unless you want to change something. Everything else is done on your hotkey bars like a million other PC games. As for pausing, that’s pretty much mandatory in a multi-character game with real time combat. It would be a chaotic mess.

    • Memphis-Ahn says:

      I happened to find the fighting in DAO boring myself. I wouldn’t quite so much mind it if the AI was intelligent and did their best by themselves without me having to order them around all the time.
      I happen to think that the fighting in DA2 certainly looks more interesting/fun than DAO, it feels more like a hack-n-slash like Darksiders than a bore.

    • kyrieee says:

      Didn’t like it either, and there was way too much of it too.
      I’ll pass on DA2, doesn’t look very interesting.

    • MikoSquiz says:

      My major concern is also that the combat will be too much like Dragon Age. The original managed to drive me off before I was eight hours in, even though I came in expecting to find my favourite game of all time. The story wasn’t engaging enough or the characters likable (or even tolerable) enough to make up for how incredibly dreary and annoying the pause-and-go combat was. Given the option of thirty more hours of kiting boss monsters and not being able to push Morrigan off a cliff, I opted not to.

      I thought maybe this time the combat might be fun, the setting feel less drab and dreary, and Morrigan entirely absent, but it doesn’t look promising.

    • Zyrxil says:

      Mainly, the problem is even in the PC version, DA combat was far less engaging than Baldur’s Gate combat. Lack of adequate auto-pause options contributed to this, as well as the fact that the ‘talent trees’ were utter shit.

    • Martha Stuart says:

      no offense to anyone here but you guys dont sound like PC gamers. all of the things you are bitching about are pretty much standard fair for any good PC RPG. if you want hack n slash go play fable….

    • dadioflex says:

      I didn’t like the DA combat either, but probably for different reasons. Didn’t really like the game at all TBH. The dialogue, the whole plot in fact, was moronic. Someone give me a low fantasy romp in a brothel going after a money lenders gold so I can spend the fee buying wooden teeth for my girlfriend. Or something. Fed up saving the world. Fecking world… always needs saving…

    • Saul says:

      Hated the combat in DA:O. I played a fair bit of the game, drawn in by the quite good storytelling, but eventually I just had to give up or go mad. Don’t know if the “action RPG” stuff will suit me either, but at least it might be quicker to get through.

      I don’t care if it is “standard fare” – standard fare is boring. I’m over piles of meaningless combat. I say cut the length of the game in half, keep all the story and only have fights when they matter to it.

    • Maltose says:

      I’m going to go out on a limb here and say I actually liked the combat (that said, I stopped playing the game at ~80hrs and still haven’t finished it). I was playing on the 2nd or 3rd difficulty level with 2 mages, a tank, and a stabby rogue. I think my enjoyment of the combat came from my party composition. The tank and rogue were boring to play. They didn’t have many active abilities, so they basically just stood there and auto attacked. The mages were fun to play with, since they had a lot of abilities to manage and positioning was important so i didn’t accidentally nuke my other party members. I could see how the combat would be boring with only one or two mages, though.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      Zyrxil says:

      Mainly, the problem is even in the PC version, DA combat was far less engaging than Baldur’s Gate combat. Lack of adequate auto-pause options contributed to this, as well as the fact that the ‘talent trees’ were utter shit.

      Wait, DA had talent trees?

      Anywho, I won’t nitpick the graphics or the combat till I see it in my hot little greedy hands. Even then, I’d gladly accept mediocrity if they used the asset vacuum for better plot, character development, and less than wildly polar moral choices.

    • Inglourious Badger says:

      @ Martha Stuart

      No offense taken, I was expecting more replys like your own and was painfully aware I’d sound like a bloody console gamer with my comments, but I really don’t like that style of ‘combat’ and am pleased to see some people agreeing with me.

      I’m aware it’s my problem not the game’s, I never got on with Baldur’s Gate or anything similar except for Planescape: Torment and I think I only liked that because you could talk your way out of, or literally run away from, the majority of fights. DA:O didn’t have that option and instead really piled on a LOT of unavoidable fights.

      I just don’t find any satisfaction in the old-skool RPG combat and would much rather have the option for a more hack and slash approach. There’s no reason why modern games can’t provide a complex, tactical, real-time combat system where you actually get to aim your own arrows, or swing your own sword, without having to politely select the option from the bottom of your screen and wait for a cooldown timer to end before your character does it for you. It’s barely one step forward from its board game origins.

      It’s a bit mean perhaps to expect one of the only remaining old fashioned RPGs to make changes, and I could look elsewhere for more hands on combat, but unfortunately I really did enjoy the other elements of DA:O. The morality choices, whilst still pretty black and white, were a lot more interesting than Mass Effect’s and Fallout’s as different characters had different reactions and some of the choices you had to make were brilliantly difficult.

      @MikoSquiz
      What was so bad about Morrigan? Morrigan was hot, so ended up being a key member of my team! Maybe I somehow overlooked her other character floors because of her hotness? Damn, this is a sad and unwitting reflection of my real life.

  5. Robot_Uprising says:

    Notice how he keeps firing area of effect spells all over his own party ? and how that would quickly get you killed in DAO?

    Guess what they don’t even trust you with the option of friendly fire any more !

    http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/141/index/5490589

    • Jimbot says:

      I was going to post that if no one else did. Why, oh why do developers insist on catering to that type of gamer? If you’re randomly toggling things in the option menu then you’re too young to be playing a M rated game. You probably aren’t even potty trained.

      That or Bioware thinks causal gamer means brain-dead retarded gamer.

    • Starky says:

      If you are going to whine like man-children at least pick something worth whining about…

      Seriously in the very link you posted a Bioware employee states clearly that friendly fire is based on difficulty. That FF is still in the game.

      Unless you are bitching about the lack of an option to turn FF on on easy (which still may be doable with an ini toggle, just not one in the options menu)? If you want to play on easy with FF enabled then “causal gamer means brain-dead retarded gamer” is true, and you are it.

      Or the opposite, you want to play the game on hard with FF turned off? Well what is the point of that also? Turning up the difficulty only to flip it right back down to easy? Easy. medium or Hard no FF means all you do is AOE spam and win, golf claps all round.

      So, we have a situation that means the game will probably turn on FF at the higher difficulties And that is a perfectly good situation to have.
      Hard and above I’d guess for FF, though DA:O defaulted on at normal on the PC, harder on the xbox – controlling AoEs was harder without a top down view so that difference made sense).

    • ScubaMonster says:

      @Starky – Yeah really. It’s like someone read the title of the post and copied the link immediately screaming to the internet “OH MY GOD NO FRIENDLY FIRE!!” without taking the time to read it.

    • Starky says:

      Indeed, and it makes perfect sense for Bioware to keep the default difficulty settings clean and easy to understand.

      As the man in the thread clearly articulates to bunch of whiners who can’t or don’t want to understand, having a toggle option like FF on/off makes their difficulty balancing meaningless and near impossible.

      After all, what is hard with FF turned off? medium-hard? Easy-medium? What about hardcore with FF off, is that easier or harder than hard with FF on?

      Hell I’d wager that FF will be a scale not a binary switch – normal will have 25% FF damage, hard 50%, hardcore 100% or there abouts.

      Not to mention that this game will be moddable, there will no doubt be .ini settings more advanced gamers wanting a custom experience (and all the broken imbalances that go with that) – there will be mods that allow some spells to cause FF and some not too, and edit which does what how much.

      I can totally understand Bioware not wanting a binary toggle in the difficulty options because it makes any difficulty scale meaningless, screws their difficulty curve and reduces the quality of the experience and basically doubles the number of difficulty levels they need to balance.
      Difficulty scales need to take into account any and all toggles and convey that information clearly and properly to the player. Sure it can be done, but its a lot of pointless work for very few people.
      4-5 difficulty settings are more than enough for 95% of gamers – and the other 5% will just have to mod their .ini.

    • dadioflex says:

      Casual gamers, or gamers as the industry classifies them, buy games. When you and your tiny hardcore of real men gamers amount to anything, the modern game industry will cater for you. Until then just settle yourself with your sippy cup, big guy.

    • Flint says:

      Hi. I’ve been a gamer ever since I was a little kid in the 90′s. Gaming is one of my major hobbies and I enjoy a wide spread of challenge from the very easiest to very hard depending on the game. Last time I checked I’m not brain dead or retarded. I also think the friendly fire in Dragon Age was bollocks.

      Being able to hurt your team mates isn’t a sign of quality nor is disliking it a sign of a lesser being.

    • Jimbot says:

      Interesting responses, lambaste me for not reading the developer quotes then turn around and put words in my mouth. Unless this is some seriously clever and ironic bandwagon posting going on here. It’s less about complaining about the lack of a toggle and more about the reasoning behind it. Do you seriously see nothing wrong with those excuses? What else did that mentality effect? You see, I did not call casual gamers brain dead retarded – I implied that designers think that because of this quote:

      Attaching things to toggles is great, but if someone flips that on and doesn’t know that it will suddenly make their “Easy” game not quite so Easy anymore… well, that wouldn’t be good.

      Bioware doesn’t trust gamers to understand what “Friendly Fire” means, let alone design a tooltip explaining what it is. What does that tell you what they think about their player base. I have no problem with Friendly Fire being attached to difficulty, but I do have a problem with their reasoning behind it. By that logic how do they expect players to understand what friendly fire does when it’s even attached to the difficulty? A toggle with just enable the predefined friendly fire amount, while keeping the balance. Arguing difficulty levels is just semantics. Having more options doesn’t hurt anyone and caters to a bigger spectrum of players. Disagreeing with that point is just you trying to save face over getting worked up over something I didn’t say.

      Summary: I don’t have a problem with friendly fire attached to difficulty, I have a problem with the reasoning behind it. I didn’t call casual gamers brain dead retards, I implied Bioware did with the developer quote. I question the reading comprehension of those who got worked up over what I posted.

    • suibhne says:

      For what it’s worth, friendly fire was tied to difficulty levels back in Baldur’s Gate and BG2.

  6. Taedirk says:

    DA2 lost me when DAO 1.03 added in memory leaks / CTD errors and the release cycle took months to add a patch that did nothing to resolve the issue. They did manage to get out a plentiful amount of paid DLC in the mean time, so I can see how that’d be more important.

    /bitter_as_hell

  7. bleeters says:

    I tend to give Bioware the benefit of the doubt. The odd spotty dlc record aside, they’ve yet to let me down with any of their games.

  8. Dlarit says:

    If you ask me that man with the glasses wasn’t real and was instead a very clever use of CGI, the shadow was to hide the imperfections, his glasses just looked far too shiney and I’m not sure his arms moved correctly…
    Was even better than the recent mass effect 3 And batman CGI though!

  9. Teronfel says:

    wtf is this? the battle system is awful.DA was great,why did they change the pc version?

    • Werthead says:

      Simple answer: the console versions made money. So now the PC version is a secondary concern.

    • KauhuK says:

      But if i remember correctly, the pc version was greatly superior and sold better? or am i misinformed?

    • bleeters says:

      Last I heard, the PC version of Dragon Age shifted around three million copies. So, yeh. A crippling financial blow, to be sure.

    • Starky says:

      And of course Dragon Age origins for the PC will still be selling copies in 5 years time – While I seriously doubt any new copies of DA:O get sold for consoles now, just pre-owned.

  10. Jim Reaper says:

    YES! This video pleases me. I did have a sneaking suspicion that the reason we’d only seen the “action RPG” videos so far was to appease the console crowd who were apparently disappointed with the combat of the first game. I had hoped that the PC version would have combat similar to the original.

    Still not sure I’m happy playing as “Hawke” though. I understand that the origins of the first game required a lot of work on their part, but I still hoped that they’d take the concept further for the sequel.

    • MikoSquiz says:

      I only played the elf tribesman opening to DA:O, but I thought it felt very Generic RPG Opener and would possibly have been better left off. Were the others much better?

    • formivore says:

      Yes.

      Many of the other five origins were quite excellent.

      But perhaps you found some spare change under your sofa that day, and the great wheel of karma balances out.

    • Wulf says:

      I tried a couple of the human and dwarf ones too and they felt like very generic fare, it isn’t something that follows you through the game. And unless my memory is fading, it’s actually something that’s quickly completely forgotten about by the rest of the game, I recall Yahtzee saying as much as well. They would’ve done better releasing the Origins as separately playable demos, which given you an item in the game proper after having completed them, and the actual game starts from the point just after the origins because they really don’t make any difference whatsoever. It’s kind of like choosing between the races in LOTRO. You all end up in the same place, soon enough, despite different intros.

    • Robert says:

      @Wulf

      Conflicting experiences I´d say, as in my memory it had more effect on the story – maybe the experience of the story – than any other prologues/first chapters(halves?) of any other pc rpg I played.

      PS: calling people who like DA ‘the DA cult’ is indeed asking for flak.

    • Ateius says:

      Wulf … you fill the comment threads with screeds on how New Vegas is the best thing ever and Dragon Age is terrible grey goo every time the game is so much as tangentially mentioned. The only one demonstrating cult-like behaviour here is you, and your one-man crusade against Dragon Age and the evils of RPS for daring to not like your true love.

      (whoops – his “DA cult” comment is the next one down he makes, not this one. But it’s there.)

    • bleeters says:

      Expecting six different origins to provide six entirely different gameplay experiences from a 70~ hour game is absurd. The origins differ when that background overlaps with main-game content and characters, which seems adequate to me. Perhaps I just have low expectations.

      But then I actually enjoyed Dragon Age, which makes me an idiot or somesuch.

  11. Vadermath says:

    Oooooh, so now I’m sure it’ll be shite, as supposed to previously only bearing a strong suspicion.

    Thanks, Bioware.

  12. commisaro says:

    That lighting is not so good for his manboobs.

  13. GraveyardJimmy says:

    Seems to confirm what I was worried about. I dont like the over the top flying 50 meters across the screen type combat in this. The first jump for example, followed by some strange flailing kicks. This would be all well and good in god of war type games, but I liked the more down to earth dragon age combat.

  14. Wurzel says:

    One thing that I hope is significant is that the character selection screen shows ‘MALE rogue’ rather than just ‘rogue’, something which I hope means you’ll at least be able to choose your gender in this game (seeing as I hadn’t seen anything suggesting that before).

    • TNG says:

      they’ve mentioned in the Bioware forum that it’s going to be like in Mass Effect with Shepard: you’re limited to the human race, but can choose between male or female. I’ve also read this somewhere but can’t remember the source…

    • Jimbo says:

      They show the male and female version of each class right there at the start of the video…

    • Kadayi says:

      At around 0.28 you actually see the male/female models of each of the classes very briefly.

    • kutkh says:

      I played the demo a few times as Lady Hawke (heh) and found her voice really grating – so be careful about applying the Shepard Paradigm to this one.

  15. Thule says:

    I tried to like DAO, but I didnt really enjoy it. I kept playing hoping for it to get good, but it never really did. I trudged through that game first time through., but I just can’t bring myself to replay it.

    I always thought there was no tactical aspect to the combat at all, mainly because everyone can just phase-walk through everyone else, so there’s no real option to create a tactical formation. Everyone got surrounded no matter what you did. (looks like it’s the same thing in the second one)
    Now, maybe I played the game wrong, but most of the abilities I used were useless and their impact on the combat was totally lost to me.

    I tolerated all that hoping the story would become good, but it was complete garbage. The only thing I liked was when things started to get political with all the nobles near the end.
    The world BioWare created for Dragon Age is really bland and doesn’t have anything original going for it at all, my interest in the second title is almost non-existant.

    I do enjoy watching the advertising just to see what kind of crazy ‘new shit’ they come up with to get people interested in this game.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      I’m not finished yet, but some of the parts have been pretty good. Other missions are mind numbingly boring. The tactics basically seem to be send in tank, nuke and heal with mages. You can make things more difficult by the characters you choose however. But I’d rather the difficulty not be based on how mages nuke everything, and the other guys abilities kind of suck.

    • Wulf says:

      I’m going to catch some flack for this, but I always do in regards to the DA cult. I didn’t feel that DA combat was very tactical at all, in fact, it was purely what the WoW kids term ‘tank & spank’. You send the tank in, the tank holds aggro, DPS guy does DPS, mages do spell nukes, healers heal. And that’s pretty much that. Over. And over. And over. And over. I wouldn’t be surprised if the same people that liked WoW like DA, really. That wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

      This is actually one of the reasons I really adored Guild Wars: bodies were solid. This lead to more observational tactics on the field, since you could use formation-based body-blocking tactics, both in the PvE and PvP games. The Ritualist was a hell of a class for that reason, since you could form temporary blockades on bridges with spirits, leaving traps waiting behind the spirits. So my Ranger/Ritualist would pelt them from afar, they’d finally get past my spirits, then they’d find themselves hit by a barrage of traps. And every class or group of classes had different tactics like that. Guild Wars was grand in this regard.

      I suppose the reason I don’t like WoW/DA combat is because GW spoiled me.

    • Vinraith says:

      DA’s combat was its weakest element, but the problem really was that it wasn’t tactical enough, wasn’t slow enough, and wasn’t thoughtful enough. Pushing it in the other direction is the opposite of productive.

    • bleeters says:

      You might catch less flak, Wulf, if you didn’t insist on referring to folk who enjoyed DA and see fit to defend it as a cult. Just throwing that out there.

  16. Namos says:

    I am relieved slightly, I suppose. The fact that after both battles (1:18 and 2:50) the party ends up with practically the same HP and energy levels is a tad suspicious, though. If tactics don’t make a difference, why bother showing me an elaborate sham?
    Still, I like even having the semblance of a tactical option. Action-RPG puts the onus of skill on the dexterity of my hands, which pisses me off in an RPG environment. The tactical option at least shifts the realm of skill to my tactical judgment (and ability to pause the game at just the right time). How valid the tactical side of things is also dependent on how much freedom they’ll give us in developing character skills and how varied those skills are. The pause button is there partially to give us time to weigh all our options – if our options are limited, it is kind of pointless.

    On the plus side, I’ve gotten all the infinity engine games and TOEE off the GOG sale, so even if DA2 turns out to be crap, I have something to go back too.

  17. Greg Wild says:

    It’s gone some way to making me less worried. But the graphics do look horrible, as does the UI. I’m thinking I might hold off on buying this one on release, ultimately. It doesn’t look nearly as must buy as DAO.

  18. Jimbo says:

    Nice fire effect, but everything else looks bland and lifeless.

    The combat looks alright, but it still feels like they’re putting a lot less effort into making the most PC version than they did with Origins. If the combat is balanced for being played like a console hack n slash then playing it tactically will feel mindnumbing and pointless. The camera doesn’t pull out far enough here to be particularly useful for playing like that either.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      Yeah adding in “tactics” and pausing combat won’t make up for the fact that it’s still basically a hack and slash game. They aren’t going to totally redesign it just for the PC.

  19. Lambchops says:

    I found a bio of scary bespectacled man

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Laidlaw-William-McIlvanney/dp/0340576901

    “Laidlaw’s Glasgow is a city of hard men, powerful villains and self-made businessmen, of big industry and its victims, of enduring women, terrible slums and, one morning, of murder. An unorthodox detective who cloaks compassion with sardonic wit, Laidlaw knows the right questions to ask, threading his way through the pubs and clubs, the bookies’ and tenements, trying to find the killer of a young, apparently innocent girl.”

    Oh . . .. what’s that . . . his name is Mike, is it? Well never mind.

  20. Sharkticon says:

    DAO combat was utter shit – both encounters and combat mechanics. Most encounters were meaningless darkspawn mobs with hardly any variety, and said variety wouldn’t necessitate a change in the player’s approach to combat anyway.

    The combat mechanics are the worst of all – MMO mechanics in a single player game. Congratulations bioware for doing the most retarded thing imaginable. At low level, combat is unspeakably dull because its just pressing 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, etc on each enemy. At higher levels, slight more options maybe but that doesn’t stop a pattern forming that fits every enemy type, e.g 1, 8, 9, 5, 6, 2, etc.

    Cooldowns remove any sort of tension within battles, magically regenerating health after each fight removes any sort of tension in between battles, so thats pretty much the entire game tension free.

    I thought that Awakenings improved things slightly by adding more spells and abilities, allowing the player to perhaps experiment with a different number key pattern, but by then the player is at such a high level, it really doesn’t make any difference. A slightly more varied collection of turds is still a collection of turds.

    • Sharkticon says:

      Thinking about it more, it seems fairly possible that execs/devs/whoever wanted to appeal to as many people as possible by making the gameplay similar to WoW, which must have seemed to them as the most played (mmo)rpg ever. Too bad they seemed to have forgotten that MMO combat is as it is due to internet limitations, not because people love it so much.

      Typical big dev thinking I suppose. Gears of War got popular, and the very next year comes Mass Effect with Gears of War style combat.

    • Lambchops says:

      Speaking as someone who has only ever played single player RPGs and never an MMO I’ve got to say I didn’t really find Dragon Age’s combat particularly better or worse than any other RPG I’ve played.

      Combat is generally the bit of an RPG that appeals to me the least and part of the reason I didn’t play any of the things for a long time, I’ve grown to at least tolerate it in most cases though.

      there was enough of a feeling of tactics and variety of new abilities to keep me interested enough and although it did get a bit repetitive after I felt like I was going through the motions somewhat (unless it was a set piece or particularly difficult fight that required a bit more thought) that’s a criticism I’d level at every RPG I’ve played, and it wasn’t the worst offender in this regard,.

    • Archonsod says:

      I actually preferred it. Combat was pretty much the same as most other Bioware RPG’s, and the regenerating health was a massive improvement. Always made me laugh in Baldur’s Gate when you were sent on a quest of utmost urgency, yet spent eight hours sleeping after every fight without any problems.

    • Jimbo says:

      The mechanics were alright, it just needed a much wider variety of combat scenarios. It could use a little more emphasis on positioning and using the environment smartly, maybe even throw some Men of War-esque physics elements into the equation.

      It just needs to be more dynamic in general really. The combat in Origins became a chore because you could get through 90+% of the fights using the exact same method.

    • Sharkticon says:

      @Lambchops:
      Examples of combat mechanics *lightyears* better than DAO: BG, BG2, IWD, IWD2, ToEE, Fallout 1, Fallout 2.

      The BG series and Fallout in particular have such variety. There’s always something different around the corner, and differences in the player’s usable spells, health, ammo etc. make things alot more interesting.

      @Archonsod:
      The regenerating health is probably one of the worst things about it. At least in the Infinity Engine games, sleeping after each fight is up to the player. At least its not forced or anything. Plus don’t forget there were many dungeons where resting wasn’t possible. In BG1 especially there was no ‘urgent’ rush for most of the game, mostly just investigations and low level exploration.

      @Jimbo:
      Agreed on it needing to be more dynamic. Adding physics would be a really good idea, but possibly best for full turn based combat e.g. enemy moves in front of fire, end turn, player uses shield to knock enemy into fire, end turn etc.

      While I absolutely hate typical mmorpg combat mechanics, it would’ve been so much better if they provided a long long list of toggles in DAO. Let player’s decide for themselves whether or not they want the regenerating health, friendly fire, the cooldowns. Instead they locked everything in place, fearing that players might turn on the options without knowing what they do and ruin the game for themselves.

      Derp Age Origins indeed.

    • Wulf says:

      I actually agree. I didn’t like DA for the sake of disliking it, because I actually like a good, meaty, three-dimensional RPG despite all its failings. *points at New Vegas.* My problem with Dragon Age was that it was very much a generic MMO trapped in a single-player game, it felt like a grittier version of LOTRO, and I didn’t feel anything was really compelling about any of it. Guild Wars was an example of how you can do tactical combat so much better, if you ask me. You actually had tactics there due to the nature of dual-classing and body blocking. In fact, watching some of the PvP matches of Guild Wars was an absolute joy.

      I’ve also recently started replaying Fallout 2 with killap’s Restoration Project thingy, I felt like it after New Vegas. New Vegas gave me pangs of guilt about not having replayed it in so long, and I’d been meaning to check out that Restoration Project for so long but I never quite got around to it. I’ve been really enjoying myself though, I’m doing a sub-3 INT run, and you all know what to expect from that. (Me defeat bad guys, me solve game, me big kickass hero and am save world!) It’s funny stuff.

      ‘The battles are also so much more satisfying than melee was in Dragon Age though, infinitely so. And none of the companions of DA really have the flavour of the likes I’ve been recruiting for my ragtag band either. Though Goris might make me a little biased in that regard. Still though, Fallout 2 has reminded me of just how satisfying this sort of combat can be, which is very. DA really felt like WoW’s ‘tank & spank’ done from a top-down perspective. To be honest, I felt that DA had more in common with multiplayer Diablo than it did with Baldur’s Gate, or games like Fallout 2.

      But what do I know?

    • Tom OBedlam says:

      Hmmm not sure I agree, Fallout 1 and 2 had easily the most gimpable combat systems ever. By the end game of either I had been using one weapon combination ad nauseum, sniper rifle aimed at eyes, supersledge aimed at eyes, repeat, repeat.

      Doesn’t change the fact they’re in my top five games, but a lousy combat system.

    • Ateius says:

      I found the combat system in Fallout 2 to be extremely unsatisfying, actually, frequently boiling down to a binary pass/fail where everything hinged on me landing a headshot or critical hit in the first turn or two. If I couldn’t do that, the enemy would kill me faster than I could kill them.

      Oh, and that’s not counting extra damage taken from my intriguingly flavoured companions (this one’s a fat coward! That one’s a dumb barbarian!) using full-auto to shoot me in the back. Thanks guys. Keep using up all those stimpaks for your paper cuts, I sure don’t need any.

      But hey – I guess not everyone sees all games the same way, right? ;)

  21. RyePunk says:

    It looks like DAO combat but with all that troublesome thinking removed.
    Just want console gamers want. Awesome one less game to buy.

    • jeremypeel says:

      Damn console gamers, eh. It’s not like any of them played the game tactically.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      Yeah. It’s not like there are any less affluent pc gamers out there who don’t have PCs that can run it, so bought it on Console.

      It’s an interesting feeling, finding out that I don’t exist.

    • Sinomatic says:

      Nor could there possibly be any PC gamers who really didn’t enjoy the combat in DAO, finding the ‘pause, hit, pause’ progression of each fight dull as dishwater.

      I’m all for people having the option to micromanage their fights if they want to, and in many games I’d be the same, but in Dragon Age I found it monotonous and immersion breaking when I just wanted to poke my sword into things and then get back to the story, saving the world and wooing Leiliana.

    • Wulf says:

      …I’m sorry. What?

      There are some console entries, such as the FEDA games, Final Fantasy Tactics, Vandal Hearts, Valkyria Chronicles, and so on that will have more tactical depth than Dragon Age: Origins’ tank & spank WoW gameplay could ever have in its wettest dreams. Please don’t be elitist about being able to do the WoW tank & spank thing, that doesn’t make you intelligent, it just means that you have a far higher tolerance for formulaic, repetitive, unvaried gameplay than the average person.

      It’s kind of like saying that having a tolerance for stacking crates in Broken Sword 3 makes one an intelligent person.

  22. TimA says:

    Good grief, that UI is ugly.

  23. Gothnak says:

    I tried Dragon age about a year ago after being an old school RPGer, HATED the combat, was just like sitting there watching two AIs slug it out… Last month a workmate told me to go in and turn it all off. Now it’s a lot more fun, if a bit of a pause-fest. Pity the fade section is so bloody annoying…

  24. Tetragrammaton says:

    Thanks Bioware. Not buying this will give me much needed time to start chipping away at my enormous backlog.

  25. Duffin says:

    How can you balance this? Surely if its possible to complete the game as a hack and slash then using the strategic view with crowd control and aoe abilities, tank taunts etc. the game will just be ridiculously easy?

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Well I don’t know all of the nuances of how it’s done, but it has been done in other games before. See my comment just below.

    • jeremypeel says:

      To be fair, switching between difficulties in DA:O either allowed you to play it as a (bad) hack ‘n’ slasher or required you to take a tactical approach, constantly pausing and revising your approach.

      If they can get that balance again with a more involved, hackity-hack system and still have something approximating the tactical depth of BG… Huh, that would be great. And I’m the biggest BG fan you’ll ever find.

      I’m scared but hopeful. As always.

  26. MadTinkerer says:

    So basically the combat in DA2 will be much like Final Fantasy 12 & 13 BUT EVEN BETTER.

    Indeed, ME WANT!

  27. bhlaab says:

    Dragon Age never had me to begin with.

    • bhlaab says:

      He lists all these tactics like paralysing your enemies and then knocking them down… but what do you want to bet that “select all -> attack” is generally the best option like it has been since Baldur’s Gate?

    • Sharkticon says:

      I’d love to see a ToB Demogorgon fight won using select all -> attack.

    • jaheira says:

      @ Sharkticon
      Well said. For that matter I’d love to see that tactic work in Dragon Age at high difficulty level, which is the level it really ought to be played on anyway for PC.

    • Nick says:

      Select all > attack was the best option in BG? Um.. against mobs of easy low level fodder enemies perhaps.

  28. Sagan says:

    What has me worried is this video. Watch the entire video. Then go back to 1:50, and watch. Then go back to 1:50 and watch.

    Robot man with blood all over his face and not terribly believable script talks to sexy woman with blood all over her face. Robot man offers to help with a quest and she is like “oh my god thank you do you want to have sex with me?!?!”
    All of that with blood all over their faces.

    I think that they have a different opinion than me about what the biggest problems in Dragon Age Origins were.

    • Wulf says:

      I like you.

      This is one of the reasons I’m kind of angry at RPS for considering Dragon Age: Origins to be the height of old school RPGs, whilst New Vegas gets panned. It’s almost as though their checklist for a PC RPG is ‘top down’. And that’s pretty much it, everything else can fly past, no matter how bad. And if it isn’t top down, then it’s going to be hated, regardless of how good it is. That’s the most ludicrously basic take on PC RPGs I’ve ever seen. I’ve recently started playing Fallout 2 again, and it’s not it being top down that made it fun. It was that it had varied, interesting gameplay/combat, and some really charismatic companions.

      This is one of the things I liked about New Vegas, too. Relationships were very subtly written, you could just see the glimmers and sparks of love forming there. In fact, the relationship with Gannon was one of the best bits of writing I’d seen in a game, and he was a gay character, too. To be honest, I can’t help but wonder where they get their insight.

      Dragon Age was being hit over the head with a sledgehammer by comparison. “WE AT CAMP, LET US FORNICATE! OVER AND OVER!”

    • Maltose says:

      I think New Vegas wasn’t as well received because it was buggy as hell when it came out and was essentially Fallout 3.5. Personally, I’d rather just mod Fallout 3 (Hell, a lot of the features in F:NV were already modded into F3) than pay $50 for incremental improvements.

      On the other hand, Dragon Age was (for me) one of those “so old it’s new” kinda things. I missed the whole D&D top down RPG (Planescape, NWN, etc)by a few years, so for me, Dragon Age was actually something fresh and original. The overarching narrative for Dragon Age (recruit allies, get laid, save the world) was derivative and uninspiring, but I liked its details. The political shenanigans in Orzammar and the whole Loghain arc were interesting and vaguely reminiscent of the Game of Thrones novels. The romance subplots were about as interesting as watching pornography for the storyline, but some of the characters (Shale especially) were very well written, if a bit lacking in the character development department. And hell, Dragon Age’s writing is still better than the majority of games out there, if only because most games have horrid writing.

      TL;DR: DAO isn’t awesome only because of its perspective.

      PS: I don’t remember Mass Effect 1 & 2 being shat upon (by any more than a small minority) because they were third person shooters.

    • arqueturus says:

      I turned off the permanent blood in the game.

  29. Mithent says:

    I’ve generally played Dragon Age using the Baldur’s-Gate-style isometric camera, and believe that’s a casualty of DA2. Pity; this doesn’t look to be as bad as the over-the-shoulder view of some other BioWare RPGs (could never get alone with KotOR, for one), but I’ve always found it easiest to see what’s going on with a high zoomed-out camera.

    I’m very much a frequent pauser, playing on Hard (unusually for me, since I’d usually play games on Normal, but the developers basically said that Hard is how it was designed to be played), and have pretty much all the AI turned off; I want them to hit enemies appropriately when not otherwise engaged, but tactics, spells and especially consumable use are on my instruction only, please. So having a clear view of the battle is important, and I don’t really want to focus on one “active character” at a time.

    • Starky says:

      The problem with the zoom out view is that while it can be more tactical (which doesn’t mean it is by default – just it can be), it does tend to make the game less cinematic, less intimate.Basically becoming more RTS and less RPG.

      Hell, I think limiting the game to a 3rd/first person camera might make the game MORE tactical, if and only if you can pause and view the game from party member perspectives.Suddenly targeting AOE’s becomes a skill to use well, rather than just a easy placement. Line of fire becomes an issue, as does terrain.

      Sometimes the best way to crate tactical possibilities in a game is to limit harshly the information available to the player – not increase it.

      RTS games use fog of war to simulate that lack of information, but by limiting perspective to what party members could actually see means they don’t have to simulate it.

      I guess it comes down to preference and how the game handles it, like you I prefer play most of DA:O in the overview mode – but only because the game played better in that mode – where I personally think that Never winter Nights for example, played better in the zoomed down, over the shoulder view.

    • Mithent says:

      I’m happy with the over-the-shoulder view in Neverwinter Nights, since you only control one character directly there. I find it awkward when you have a whole party to control though.

      Given all the tactics features and the default over-the-shoulder camera, I guess the game was first designed to be played primarily controlling a single character (probably the protagonist) the whole time, while your party members follow the AI and assist.

    • suibhne says:

      Starky, that’s a canard. What does “cinematic” even mean in the context of a game? I can’t think of any way in which an over-the-shoulder camera is more “cinematic,” or “immersive,” or whatever than a top-down camera – unless by “cinematic” you actually just mean “similar to the camera views used in movies,” in which, sure, that’s correct and also pretty meaningless.

    • Starky says:

      Don’t be dense, it’s fairly common usage that cinematic when it comes to gaming simply means that you get to actually see the action in detail. A close to the action viewpoint that allows you to see what is going on from a human level perspective.

      As opposed to a top down view, where you don’t.

      More immersive or not, when viewing things from 40 meters above the action it loses almost all visceral impact.

      Not that Dragon age had much of that, as I said my preference the overhead view also. It provided better gameplay.

      Oh and like it or not, close up camera viewpoints ARE more emotionally immersive when it comes to evoking certain reaction in the audience – there is a reason why, for example, no horror based game works with a distant/tactical camera view. FPS/TPS games are vastly more emotionally engaging especially when it comes to fear/horror. Of which Amnesia and Silent Hill 2 are probably the most successful at doing – Though the First Aliens vs Predator was probably one of the most pants browning games ever made – especially for anyone old enough to have played it way back when it was new.

      Unless I’m forgetting something obvious I can’t think of any top down game that managed even close to that level of fear response.

      Top down, overhead views are intellectually engaging, that is good too, but different.
      I can certainly panic, be filled with adrenaline and fear when playing Starcraft 2 multiplayer- but that isn’t the same at all.

    • suibhne says:

      I wasn’t being dense – I really don’t think “cinematic” is universally understood to mean “closer to the action”, as you claim. Throughout the PR run-up to Mass Effect, for example, Casey Hudson almost constantly tossed out the word “cinematic”, and he generally did so in reference to “epic” plot points and/or the ability to punch your dialogue partner in the mouth a la Jack Bauer.

      I also wasn’t being insulting, but I guess that’s neither here nor there.

      As for the emotional affect attaining by close shots versus far ones – that may well be true, but it has no relevance to top-down vs. behind-the-back camera views in RPG combat. Both fall squarely within the “unaffective” or “unimmersive” camp, as you’ve defined it. (And I would generally agree, for what that’s worth.)

      “Cinematic” and “immersive” are two catch-all words that people like to use all the time when discussing games, but are generally placeholders for other ideas not being expressed. Sometimes it’s pure preference – which is fine, but by no means objective. Other times it’s aiming for a certain kind of affective experience, like horror or suspense; I can’t imagine Amnesia with a top-down camera, for example, and even third-person view seems pretty much impossible to me. But the games market in general seems to have given very little thought to actual technologies of “immersing” its audiences, aside from the Skinner boxes of MMOs.

      I just can’t think of any objective reason for DA2 to eschew the top-down camera, other than player preference (based on market-testing) or developer preference. What I fear is that it’s been axed not based on real market research – all that pesky social-sciency stuff – but rather on EA’s or Bioware’s from-the-hip assumptions of what real market research would tell them if they bothered to conduct it.

    • ExplosiveCoot says:

      @Starky -

      “Don’t be dense, it’s fairly common usage that cinematic when it comes to gaming simply means that you get to actually see the action in detail. ”

      Don’t be dense yourself; it’s actually a fairly common usage that means the game controls the camera not the player – similar to the way a director controls the camera in cinema.

      “A close to the action viewpoint that allows you to see what is going on from a human level perspective. As opposed to a top down view, where you don’t.”

      And when the game models came from the uncanny valley it is impossible for me to empathise with them. YMMV though.

      “More immersive or not, when viewing things from 40 meters above the action it loses almost all visceral impact.”

      Fallout and Fallout 2 had tremendous visceral impact – people would melt into puddles of goo or explode like blood sausages, neatly accompanied by a satisfying chirp from the UI then click and boom from your weapon. Sound design has much more to do with this than perspective.

      “Oh and like it or not, close up camera viewpoints ARE more emotionally immersive when it comes to evoking certain reaction in the audience…”

      This just isn’t true – Planescape: Torment is one of the most emotionally engaging games of all time, and it uses the infinity engine. You also talk about the specific emotion of fear – I have to say that X-COM was the most terrifying game I’ve ever played, and it had a top-down perspective with turn-based combat.

      “I can certainly panic, be filled with adrenaline and fear when playing Starcraft 2 multiplayer- but that isn’t the same at all.”

      Why isn’t it the same?

    • Starky says:

      @suibhne Fair enough mate, I apologize for my insult, I took your tone to be much more flippant and flaming than was intended.

      I do agree that there are too many terms that used to mean something but now are just meaningless PR spouted phrases – but from way back when the phrase first started getting used for the likes of Metal gear solid, and other PS3 games it was usually used to express that you could see characters faces, that the camera would be close to the action. They had voice over and models had enough detail for body language to be animated (even if it was very rough).
      Cut scenes could be cinematic, but generally (at least in the UK games press of the time, 95-98ish) when “cinematic gameplay” was described, it simply meant, it was a more zoomed in experience.

      Under the control of the player or not wasn’t a requisite. Resident Evil was cinematic, so was Tomb raider, Baldurs gate wasn’t.

      As for objective reasons, well there are no truly objective reasons for any camera/design decisions in an artistic medium really – There’s no objective reason for or against having a top down view, it is purely artistic vision. There is no objective reason why RTS games must be top down/isometric either. It’s just genre standard for good reasons – but all genre standards tend to get bust eventually. Platformers can work in 3D, Turn based or realtime RPGs can work amazingly well in First Person – stuff like that.

      I can think of several good reasons to NOT have a topdown view based upon what you are trying to achieve with a game, as you say Amnesia wouldn’t work even in 3rd person, you’d lose that fear of looking at a wall hoping the monster would go away, as 3rd person would let your character face the wall while you stare at the monster.

      For example, I’ve always wanted a game like Total War, in which you command the Army for 3rd person generals perspective – not as some mighty warrior of doom mount and blade style – but a pure strategic RTS in which you command units, make derisions but take no active role in the fighting. Your ability to look at the battle would be limited to your choice of location – on top a hill would give you the best view, but might make you vulnerable if the battle swings in your direction or they send assassins or get archers close enough.
      Information might only be gathered by sending scouts and runners to inform you – they might get it wrong, you’d have a staff who’d move markers on a map for you, but that might also be wrong. So on so forth.

      Again it depends on the kind of game you’re trying to tell, Mass Effect was a much more involving game combat wise than Dragon Age, and in some ways more tactical – DA should have been a much more tactical experience IMO, but they botched it just a bit in vanilla – there are a few amazing mods out there that really force you to get tactical with your tactics though and they are great. What set DA apart was it’s scope, length and world building – The combat was a bit dull really.

      @Coot
      “it’s actually a fairly common usage that means the game controls the camera not the player”
      Not always true (see my reply above).

      The uncanny valley is a bit of a myth really – oft quoted (I’ve done so myself), but really people can empathise with anything – I personally think that poor writing does vastly more harm when it comes to empathising with characters than anything graphical related.
      In movies it is one thing, and the Uncanny valley theory may hold some water, in games, where most people mentally ignore graphics after 15 mins of playing (and wherever state of the graphics it becomes normal) it isn’t an issue.
      It’s like when you go back and play a PS1 game, for the first 15 mins you can’t get over how dated and crap the graphics are, and how rubbish everything looks – then you begin to ignore all that, you become used to it and it and stop noticing.

      I disagree with you on FA1 and 2, they were amazing games, but I’d not call them visceral – at no point did I feel any physical reaction to that violence – it was fun, even cartoonish. It was bloody and satisfying, but not once did it ever make me wince, or cringe or in any other way react to it in an empathetic way.

      Movies manage it a lot, gaming cutscenes too (the first instance I can remember is in FF7, when Aeris died, as a teenager I almost felt that sword in my own gut, I remember grabbing my stomach as I watched.
      I agree with you that sound design is very important, as is characterization, you won’t gain empathy for characters you don’t care about at all – but perspective does matter for me. I’ve never gotten that kind of gut reaction from a zoomed out tactical viewpoint, no matter how good the writing or the sound design. Though to be fair very few games manage it in in-game action either, but some do. Escape from butcher bay springs to mind as a game that actually had me moving my own head unconsciously during the fights to try and avoid blows.

      Take silent hill, arguably it is the sound design of that game more than anything that freaked you out when playing it (alone in the dark at 2am with headphones on *nightmares*) – but it’s also the camera – hearing sounds behind you then having to spin around to face it, only to hear something from the direction you were facing.
      If that game had the ability to zoom out to a wider view that wouldn’t have worked at all.

      “This just isn’t true – Planescape: Torment…”
      I never said, nor implied that zoomed out games cannot evoke emotion, that is clearly silly – any game with good plot, and characterization can – but it evokes emotion on the quality of it’s writing, not the gameplay itself. That said zoomed out games can evoke a range of emotions – as I said zoomed in perspective is more effective for certain reactions, not that those reactions are impossible without it.

      As for X-com, I also was scared at points in that game, but I was afraid of losing the game, making the wrong decision and one of my men dying. Never of the aliens themselves. It wasn’t a scary game.

      What I said about SC2 holds true for X-com, as it does for chess or poker.
      I’ve gotten scared in those games, adrenaline and anxiety ridden – but that isn’t because the games cause that reaction, it’s not an empathetic reaction to something you’re seeing, or hearing.
      It’s not a base emotional or primal response that the game is trying and succeeding to evoke. It’s just by-product anxiety you experience when you may lose a tense tactical game.

      It’s the difference between fear of the dark, and fear of an up and coming exam.

  30. thebigJ_A says:

    I have to play this on my 360, like I did with Origins. My pc just can’t handle this. I used pause and play in Origins (even though it was a bit more awkward with a controller) because that’s how I like to play these sorts of games.

    Am I going to be stuck using the “action rpg” playstyle? Please no. Oh please no.

  31. Vinraith says:

    If “just jump in and stab things at random” works, then what’s the point of a considered tactical mode? The whole point of a tactical mode is to plot meaningfully because that’s what’s required to get through the encounter, the mere existence of “action RPG” mode makes it clear none of that’s necessary.

    • Om says:

      My thoughts exactly. Why would I ever take a considered and well planned approach when rushing in and repeatedly bashing buttons works just as well?

    • suibhne says:

      Not optimistic over here, but I’ll try to work with it. Maybe, just maybe, it’ll be as in DA:O – where lower difficulties were an embarrassing cakewalk, but the highest difficulties required frequent pausing and much more tactical command.

    • TheApologist says:

      Yep – totally agree. Not worried the combat system is different, but worried that by accommodating two kinds of combat they will have had to take away the challenge that makes tactical play interesting.

  32. Mut says:

    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

  33. thranx says:

    Dear sweet lord please let this UI not be final…. it’s HIDEOUS.

  34. Basilicus says:

    1. U.I.: Needs a better U.I. The first game’s U.I. was perfect, easy-to-use, and full of character. Why change it? This looks to console-oriented. Oh, there’s my answer.

    2. ANIMATIONS: The animations look a little flighty. For the most part, DA:O involved characters performing movements that a real, human body could accomplish in armor. I don’t want to see any backflips in chain-mail.

    3. BROWN-AND-RED! Needs more brown and red. I know DA:O was officially ugly, but that was a texture issue. Many of us liked the focus on a brown-and-red pallette. It was so evocative, made the game feel relentlessly bloody and dirty, and made colorful moments feel like fleeting breaths of fresh air between the brutality of your expeditions.

    4. CLUTTER: Seriously, where’s the clutter. DA:O was a master-class in how to serve up properly cluttered environments, which made them feel used and lived-in. The environment in that fight was only a glimpse, I know, but it needs to much more clutter and brickabrack to feel like Dragon Age.

    5. CAN’T WAIT: All that said, it’s Bioware, it’s Dragon Age, and I cannot wait.

  35. reticulate says:

    I played Origins, enjoyed the mythos but the game itself never grabbed me.

    I may or may not check out this new instalment.

    • Wulf says:

      You know, that’s one thing I did like about DA:O, the lore book thing was interesting. It was actually interesting, and at points it was compelling. They’re great world builders, they’re just not particularly good at designing this sort of game, or writing characters for it.

      Though I have to admit, as much as I found the DA:O lore book interesting, the one in The Witcher was far, far more compelling. I swear I read every bloody entry in that game. Which took up entirely too much of my life, considering that I’m a slow reader due to poor sight. Have I mentioned how much I loved The Witcher too? Yep. Loved The Witcher.

  36. Nick says:

    Thats one of the worst looking UIs I have ever seen.

    Combat looks good, everything else about the game sounds fucking awful. Still not going to buy it.

  37. BluNite says:

    This looks to be a decent console game.

    Why bother with pause and play with everything moving so fast, everyone will be three attacks ahead everytime you unpause the game.

    I wonder if the UI is a placeholder? If this is the final, well no thanks. I couldn’t look at that the entire game. The map is also annoying, people with not so good eyesight will squint.

    Perhaps some high-res gameplay/ui will show things in a better light. There is high res textures yes?

  38. Flint says:

    Does this have any sort of connectivity to your DA:O saves despite the new player character?

  39. Phinor says:

    This game is now off my radar while the original DA:O was my GOTY of last year. That video looked really rather terrible but I’ll give this game another chance should the PC gamers actually enjoy the final product and if they completely re-do that cartoon UI. I’m not seeing how that could be possible but bigger miracles have happened – like announcing a huge RPG game such as DA2 to be released just over a year after the original.

  40. LarS1963 says:

    I think the combat looks terrible, and I am honestly bewildered.

    Dragon Age was already an odd game, that seemed to not quite know which foot to stand on, on one hand having very well written characters, and attempting to copy The Witchers moral ambiguity, while on the other had having repetitive boring trash combat, and a storyline so predictable that it caused yawning.

    So to resolve the issue with the uninteresting combat, it seems that Bioware believes the solution is idiotic anime-like animations, rather than just making the game more responsive, and having more content, less combat. Add to that that the price we pay for these ridiculus moves, is to have the already very restricted classes from the first game restricted even further.

    David Gaider has repetively stated that one source of inspiration was G.R.R. Martin’s: A Song of Ice and Fire. However, this series is extremely lowkey regarding magic, and certainly not decribing combat in the ridiculus over the top manner depicted in this video, but rather very dirty, down to earth, nasty and gritty fighting.

    It seems as the writers are headed in one direction, while the gameplay designers are headed in another.

    I might pick up this game in a year or one and a half, but certainly not for the full price in march. DA:O was a step back towards the games I like; This looks like… well, very, very dissapointing, and rather uninteresting.

  41. Dreamhacker says:

    Eh….

    All I want for christmas is a return to Biowares roots (Baldurs Gate!) but all Bioware seems to want is “press a button = something awesome happens”.

    Bioware is just not appealing to the old school RPG crowd anymore :(

  42. kutkh says:

    Oh Jesus, please let me off the pre-release complainobus.

    The funny thing about all the brow-furrowing around DA2 – and I’ve done my share of it – is that it’s made me stop caring. I didn’t really care about DA:O when it came out, and it became by some stretch my game of 2009. Perhaps now that I’ve been drained of all enthusiasm for the franchise I’m in a position to be pleasantly surprised again. That’d be nice.

    Furthermore: as long as the game is half-way open to the modding community, the problems people are identifying will get fixed. I played DA:O with auras and glowing weapon effects off, with the dog as a constant 5th companion, with reduced blood splatter that avoids faces, etc, etc. It’s funny when people are too busy moaning about consoles to consider the single greatest strength of the PC as a gaming platform.

  43. The Hammer says:

    I’ll echo the opinions of lousy-looking combat. The combat I’ve seen in DA2 looks far, far too OTT for my liking. The first game’s fighting, for all its sluggishness, at least looked great, but the hyperactive animations in the sequel don’t grant me a great deal of confidence.

    Looking more closely at the way hits and magic are registered, there’s curiously little feedback from the combatants, asides from Bioware’s new best friends: buckets of blood. More astonishing is the way that a volley of arrows can cause a stunned man to bounce vertically up in the air. It just looks stupid.

    But really, what most baffles me is just how… dire it looks. It looks like a sub-par Fable (and I really enjoyed Fable, so I’m not intending for the comparison to Fable in itself to be demeaning) with far too much flash. The problem is in that flashy magical effects from warriors run contrary to the game’s tone, unless there’s a hitherto unseen bit of story that says warriors can cast WOW-like moves now.

    I’m guessing the combat and the narrative will be incongruous to each other, and that’s a shame.

    I’ll be waiting for the reviews of this one before I buy it, I think.

  44. mmorpg games says:

    much better than i ever expected, so far looks good. Lets hope for larger maps, better LD.

  45. DarkFenix says:

    Not looking good for Dragon Age 2. That video almost certainly has put out as damage control, courtesy of the widely held belief on the internet now that Dragon Age 2 is just an action RPG.

    Perhaps playing it in traditional fashion will work fine, but now that I know they’re designing it to be an action RPG first and foremost I know it’s probably going to be shallow and poorly designed.

    I eagerly awaited DA:O, because in spite of the awful trailers it had, the gameplay looked consistently promising. With DA2 neither looks much good. Definitely a ‘pirate before I buy’ game. A shame, I’ve not felt compelled to do that before with a Bioware title. Perhaps that’ll be the case again when they grow the fuck up and lose their buckets of blood and awkward sex scene obsession.

  46. Serenegoose says:

    Urgh, RPG combat. Never, ever in all my life played an RPG with combat that I liked. The closest I’ve ever come to RPG combat that I enjoyed is pokemon (be ten levels higher than your opponent, match the element, kill in one hit), or Warcraft. (Roll mage, roll fire mage, kill in 2 hits) for the sole reason that neither of them involves being in the fight for longer than 5 seconds. Fallouts combat? Boring and arbitrary. Dragon Ages combat? Tedious and too much micromanagement. Guild Wars combat? Tedious and too much micromanagement. Baldur’s Gate? Tedious, Micromanagement, AND arbitrary. Arcanums? etc.

    I think that’s my biggest ‘hmm’ in the entirety of Dragon Age 2′s development. That they want more abominable combat instead of dialogue. Please, for the love of all the gods, no. I swear, my favourite moment in Dragon Age was realising that by turning the difficulty down to easy and just spamming blood wound, inferno, and glyph of repulsion, I could effectively win every combat in under a minute, except against those bloody ‘I’m immune to everything’ bosses which I can’t understand still exist. if RPG combat is meant to be tactical, why remove all the tactics by making your boss immune to it? If you can’t stun, silence, poison, debuff, or otherwise cripple the guy, your only option is to tank and nuke it. How boring.

    Of course, I’m now not a real RPG fan because I like dialogue instead of interminable, boring, dice rolly combat. And doubly of course, in the back of my mind I’m aware they can’t really trailer the dialogue because to do so would be intrinsically spoilery, and even if they did, since they’re going for that roleplay killing conversation wheel, I’d complain about that too. Ah well. At least I realise I’m impossible to please and only really wanted to comment because I wanted to be a voice of unreason decrying all RPG combat as crap, and this is no better.

    • Lambchops says:

      I’m mostly with you in terms of RPG combat (not to the extreme of turning everything down to easy, as I find that easy combat that I don’t like more of a trudge than moderately challenging combat I don’t particularly like).

      Closest game to doing something I liked was The Witcher and from what they’ve shown of the second game it looks like they are going a long way to addressing the flaws in the system of the first game. Which is why The Witcher 2 is top of my RPG anticipation list. I think the Witcher was the first game I played to realise that lots of players (yup, I’m extending my personal opinion to lots of players, deal with it!) can’t be arsed applying buffs that last for 15-30 seconds and are as such pretty useless unless you are a relentless micromanager (in which case you probably don’t even need the buffs in the first place as you’ve got everything under control). I was for once pleased to see that most of the potions you took lasted for a reasonable amount of time, which actually made me pay a lot more attention to them.

      All it really needs is a more robust, flowing, melee attack and counter system (a la Arkham Asylum) and it would actually be rather enjoyable.

    • noodlecake says:

      I agree with you completely. Traditional RPG combat is old and stale and the sooner it’s gone, the better. What’s the point in bringing out games that play exactly the same over and over. I did actually like the way the original Dragon Age played but I’m kinda looking forward to a more action oriented direction. Although some of those animations looked incredibly slaptstick… Not sure about that… Oh well. I’m sure there will be mods available to get rid of them eventually.

  47. Nameless1 says:

    One of the few decent RPGs released recently, consolized into shit.
    Lead designer my ass, I’m not going to buy it whatever his ridicolous excuses\arguments may be.
    And I’m going to do the same with ME3. I’ll spend my money on some decent developer instead.

  48. Hug_dealer says:

    Their idea of tactics is to use multiple sets of mezzes/stuns. Thats not tactics.

    i will not be buyiing this junk. Ill play the witcher 2.

    • Bishbot says:

      Of course! The Witcher! Where you control only one character through real-time Diablo-style combat? It’s a great game, and the combat is a lot of fun, don’t get me wrong, but Geralt’s moves are no less over-the-top than on display in this video and the tactics available to him are generally just as, if not more limited.

      Yes yes, he’s a mutant, I know, so he’s allowed to be a bit more athletic than your average guy… but still… I can’t really see what’s putting everyone off this.

      Perhaps you prefer making/guzzling potions to setting up stuns and snares? That’s fine… but it’s horses for courses… luckily I enjoy both.

  49. Dexton says:

    The guy reminds me of Brando in Apocalpyse now