Dragon Age III Going Big On Customization, Environments

Oooooo, pretty concept art.

I think I actually like Dragon Age II a lot more than most people. Mainly, though, I appreciate for what it nearly ended up being – not so much what it was. I mean, it explored some seriously interesting subject matter and dropped the tried and tired “epic globe stroll to save the world” format in favor of a more self-contained, intimate tale. Time passed, things changed, characters (sort of) led their own lives, etc. Unfortunately, those lives all tended to lead to the same goddamn cave, and I’ve played FMV games with more robust character customization. To hear BioWare tell it, though, the recently de-doctored RPG giant is taking those complaints extremely seriously. I do, however, still have a few reservations about the resulting plan for Dragon Age III.

During the Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expo, BioWare used its Dragon Age panel to drop a handful of tidbits about its upcoming threequel. In the process, it used many promising words – for instance, “one level in Dragon Age III is as big as all of the levels in Dragon Age II” and “customization is going to be bigger than Dragon Age: Origins.” Party customization included. Flemeth’s also set to make some kind of return (hopefully not in brief, extremely unsatisfactory cameo form, ala DA II), and the Qunari will once again play a role – though it won’t be anywhere near as large (and horned, and sometimes purple) as in DA II.

We’ll get to pick our pasts, too – again, sort of like in Origins – but apparently they won’t be playable, and the main character will once again be confined to greasy, filth-spurting human flesh. Sorry dwarves, elves, and giraffes at heart. This won’t be the game to finally let you escape from your hideous skin prison. So those aspects of the game are more than a bit at odds with each other, which makes me wonder how exactly BioWare plans to pull it off. Unfortunately, the whole panel was pretty light on concrete details, so we’re only getting the whats for now – not the whys or hows.

DA III has, however, been subject to a notably lengthy pre-production, which presumably means it won’t feel as obviously rushed as DA II. The plan, then, is to launch in “late fall” of 2013 – as opposed to early fall or fashionably late fall. So then, with these details and the Orlais/Chantry-centric plot from the distant shores of Rumor Land in mind, how are you feeling about DA III (or Inquisition, in imposing-multi-syllabic-videogame-subtitle-ese) so far? I’m hopeful, but I’ve been burned before. And while wounds from all-consuming dragonfire eventually heal, being let down by a videogame developer… well, that scar lasts forever.


  1. Coflash says:

    They hit the nail on the head with the first Dragon Age, then went full retard to try and be more appealing to every man and his dog (not a figure of speech). The worst part is they’re full of ignorance, claiming that DA2 was as good as BG, how delusional can you get?

    • Yosharian says:

      Yeah, not really. DA:O had some serious flaws too. Everyone acts like that game didn’t need fixing.

      • Buemba says:

        While DAO is definitely not perfect, I can’t think of a single aspect of DA2 I thought was an improvement for the series.

        • MrMud says:

          The skill system was actually more interesting in DA2.
          The companions were better in that they were not appendixes that invariably clung to the protagonist but instead had their own lives.

          DA2 was certainly a worse game than DA:O but that does not mean there were not things it did better.

          • Aemony says:

            While the characters of DA2 did have their own lives, they were sadly suffering from them all being extremist in one way or another.

          • NathanH says:

            The problem with the party members having their own lives is that they end up following you around doing things that it would be quite mental for them to be doing. Aveline is probably the worst offender.

        • Azradesh says:

          The *idea* of DA2’s plot was much better then the insanely generic DA:O plot. Pity they really messed it up in the end. 

        • paddymaxson says:

          Shoulder pad clipping. It mostly went away for DA2.

      • Drake Sigar says:

        Origins had plenty of problems, but DA 2 was in it’s own private league of awfulness.

      • lcy says:

        DAO certainly had problems. As others have said though, DA2 made pretty much each one worse.

        Limited dialogue? DA2, by adding full VA reduced it still further. Dull environments? DA2 gave us every environment about four or five times! Solve everything with violence? DA2 was even worse! No sense that the world is a dynamic place? DA2’s civilians (vastly outnumbered by thieves and blood mages) literally stood still for decades at a time!

        That’s without even mentioning the terribly boring plot in the final act. DA2 fixed nothing from the original game, preferring to focus on graphics for the CoD crowd. Ironically, the CoD crowd have more brains than they’re given credit for, and completely failed to fall for it, while more loyal fans were left in the cold.

        • Xardas Kane says:

          So DA:O did NOT have full VA?

          • Rinox says:

            It did not.

          • TormDK says:

            The main character was not voiced. Everyone else was though.

          • lcy says:

            As TormDK said, only the lead was omitted from the VA treatment in the first game. Even this small change, though, limits the amount of dialogue, since every conversation now has to budget for the three different ways of the lead saying essentially the same thing, multiplied by the different options, multiplied by two (the genders). For the same amount of money spent on VA, there could have been twice as much dialogue with only the lead omitted. Had they moved away from full VA, they could have done even more.

            Whether you would like that ultimately depends on what you though of the VA itself. Personally, in DA2, I wasn’t much of a fan, although I can’t imagine the ME series without it.

          • kament says:

            “Dialogue” with only one person speaking just doesn’t feel right to me. So I prefer fewer fully voiced options over any number of mute responses. Quality over quantity.

          • mouton says:

            Either fully voiced, or fully mute for me. DA-kind of mixed doesn’t work.

            It wasn’t bad in Fallout, though, where key characters said some parts aloud, with the rest being text. It gave them voice, while allowing lots of freedom.

          • Devan says:

            Personally I just don’t like hearing my own character in dialogue. A lot of a person’s character is projected in his/her voice, and it makes the game feel like I’m just turning pages on someone else’s story (removing the RP from RPG).
            Of course DA2 was designed to be just that: A hack-n-slash with RPG elements padded out with a non-customizable story that was to be experienced rather than influenced.
            That’s why I never really got into it.

          • belgand says:

            Agreed. I like reading the dialogue for my PC and then accepting that I said it with no need to sit around hearing it read aloud. And definitely not picking some unknown response and then waiting around to hear how my character chooses to interpret that. L.A. Noire in particular was quite bad with that and often led me to think that I would have chosen a different response if I knew how it was going to be delivered (or just go off on some odd tangent).

        • kament says:

          For me DA2 fixed at least PC. By adding full voice, yeah. And I like its writing better. And environments definitely look more interesting for me, reusing them is a whole different problem—there are simply not enough. And day/night system, being far from perfect, still adds some sense of dynamic world.

          Long story short, DA2 did fix some of DA:O issues, though maybe not to everyone’s liking.

          • Jenks says:


          • lcy says:

            The environments did look better, but the reuse completely overwhelms that. When you reach the end of the first act in DA2, you have literally seen almost every possible environment several times over. Even if the game is set in one city (albeit one that hardly changes), you should still be discovering new areas throughout.

            The worst parts were the mansions. Couple reused maps with a buggy minimap, and it was a real challenge finding out which rooms you could go into.

      • FunkyBadger3 says:

        DA:O had moments of absolute genius, but it was far too long – which gave all the minor irritations time to fester.

        DA2 was garbage, and also laughably broken. Not that I’m still bitter about a killable “unkillable” NPC that meant I couldn’t ever get to the second or third chapter…

    • PoulWrist says:

      While it was of course nowhere near BG, or even as good as the first Dragon Age (which wasn’t anything stellar) DA2 had, as the article states, some very interesting ideas, and it could’ve been a very interesting game. However, for some odd reason they made it in like 2 months and the end result was like a long list of copypastes. I did however find the premise of the game to be very good and unique, it’s just sad that they didn’t make good on that premise.

      • Xardas Kane says:

        Precisely the way I feel towards the game as well. It certainly had a lot of potential, just not the development time to fulfill it. I still find it marginally better than Jade Empire or Neverwinter Nights though *shudder.

      • ffordesoon says:

        Exactly this. It’s a pretty fascinating game, because they managed to improve on the things everybody complained about with DA: O (the combat system*, the generic story**, the art style***), created some of the most interesting companions they’ve ever made****, and screwed up basically everything else to the point that the improvements didn’t matter.

        * – And I do mean the combat system. It was a better system that the actual combat encounters completely failed to take advantage of and actively undermined.

        ** – By which I mean the premise and the structure, not the execution.

        *** – I would argue the art style was better overall. It was just the repetition of the environments and the embarrassingly large breasts stuck on every single female character that made it kind of suck.

        **** – And then failed to do much of interest with them. Except for Anders, who wasn’t interesting to begin with, despite the interesting concept behind his transformation from an interesting character into an uninteresting one.

        • Answermancer says:

          I think you are dead on! People seem to focus on one or two aspects of the combat (like that it’s flashy) but frankly in my opinion the combat systems were very much improved over the first game. There were more focused and meaningful character development choices, and more powerful and overall useful abilities. DAO had a lot of completely useless filler abilities, and most of my party ended up only ever using 1-2 skills.

          This was majorly improved in DA2, but for some reason they decided to completely and utterly RUIN the encounter balance, and so the improved combat system never got to shine.

          Whereas in DAO you’d usually stumble into tactical encounters where you could immediately get a handle on what was going on, ala the BG games, in 2 they suddenly decided that every fight had to either be an ambush or have 4 waves of enemies spawning in from the ceiling. This kind of encounter design fundamentally doesn’t work with a combat system focused on tactical use of abilities and positioning (both of which DAO was good at, and DA2 would have been BETTER at if not for their stupid encounter design).

          Having powerful glass cannon mages and rogues whose damage is largely dependent on flanking breaks apart when enemies can spawn behind you multiple times in the middle of a battle with absolutely no warning, and no recourse.

          It also made it so that I couldn’t find a comfortable difficulty setting for myself. In DAO I was good with the harder-than-normal-with-friendly-fire setting all game, but in DA2 I found all settings either trivial or too punishing to be fun. The punishing ones inevitably were only punishing due to the spawning waves of enemies, and felt fine on the few fights where they didn’t do that.

  2. Cytrom says:

    OMG a new Bioware game, I’m super excited.. oh wait its not 2003 anymore.

  3. Astalnar says:

    Does that mean all the Orlais character will have that silly “french” accent?
    Because if so, it is going to be very painful.

    • Yosharian says:

      As someone who is half-French, speaks the language fluently, and regularly goes to see French relatives in the country itself.. I agree totally with you. It’s fucking annoying as hell.

      • Drayk says:

        I think that the best way to go would be to make French the original language. But it won’t happen.

        • sinister agent says:

          That could be a LOT of fun, though. English subtitles reading “Hello passing stranger covered in blood, please solve my problems, thanks”, with the French actually saying “Jesus christ, what the hell is wrong with your face? Oh, you’re English. My sympathies. Anyway, kill some rats or whatever for me?”

          • kikito says:

            You obviously are not versed in the fine arts of french taunting. Here, allow me:

            link to youtube.com

            Now go and boil your bottoms, you son of a silly person! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries. Go away or I shall post a video a second time.

    • Rinox says:

      Almost as painful as hearing an Englishman speak French… :-)

    • greenbananas says:

      They can just replace the “french” voice actors with whoever’s still alive from the Allo Allo cast. Problem solved.

      As an easter egg, if you name your character Renée, you get to sleep with all the female characters.

      • lofaszjoska says:

        Isn’t sleeping with all NPCs already a basic feature of Bioware games?

        • MistyMike says:

          No, that’s The Witcher from CD-Project. In Bioware games you have to find your ‘twoo wuv’ and only shag him/her.

          • sinister agent says:

            And apparently in the future, there’s no distinction between showing basic concern for another person’s wellbeing and wanting to bum them senseless.

            I am unsure how to feel about this.

          • jrodman says:

            The tension is so great — any shoulder to.. uh.. nevermind.

    • Cinnamon says:

      Dragon Age 3: The quest to recover the portrait of the fallen madonna with the big boobies.

  4. mike2R says:

    I came very close to liking DAII in many ways. I didn’t even mind the repeating environments.

    The problem I had was the same with as with Origins: just too damn much combat. Both game got to the point where I just couldn’t face yet another series of a dozen fights to advance the story, and I went off to do something fun.

    • ninnisinni says:

      This. I really wish they would do something more akin to Planescape: Torment with this one, where the story and dialogues take the front seat. But I think we all know that isn’t likely to happen.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I think one of the problems with combat is that it was out of context and obviously filler, like the gangs that took over the city at night; if you take them all down another batch shows up next chapter. Fighting something should be a choice and have consequences, but in DAII you had no way to avoid most of the combat, it was all utterly meaningless, and the results of your efforts were never shown in game.

      • lcy says:

        This sums up how I felt about the combat. DA2 was one of the first games I’ve ever turned the difficulty down on from boredom rather than frustration, just to get through the combat more rapidly. If combat was supposed to be the focus of the game, they should have made it interesting in its own right. If not, there should have been much less of it.

    • bill says:

      Is that a purely Dragon Age issue? I thought it was inherent in all CRPGs.

      I made it as far as the city in BG1 and according to my stats each of my party members had slaughtered over a thousand people. And most of that mass murder wasn’t even particularly fun or challenging.

  5. Apolloin says:

    Dragon Age II wasn’t (for me) the disaster a lot of people seem to have found it to be. I totally get the comments about the lack of customisation and I, too, found myself revisiting environments to a degree that snapped my suspension of disbelief, but the format of events being spread over about ten years in the life of a city made up for a lot of sins. Almost, in fact, for the storyline itself.

    Star Wars TOR is going to be a little harder to live down. I really wanted to love that game, but in the end it bored me to tears. It’ll take me a lot longer than that to get the wormwood of Mass Effect 3 out of my mouth though.

    Long story short, for the first time in… well… EVER, I shall be waiting until the release version of a Bioware game hits the shelves, playing a demo before I try it and hitting the internet to find out what they screwed up this time. Then I’ll consider spending cash on it.

  6. BatmanBaggins says:

    After DA2, I’m going to wait and see how DA3 is received before I think about buying it.

    Then again, DA2 was pretty positively received by the press, with some places pretty much gushing over it. Yet everyone remembers it now as, at best, a rushed attempt at trying something different that sort of fell flat on its face. So who knows. I personally don’t think that DA2 deserves some of the defense it gets for trying to tell a different story, since the story that it did try to tell was wholly uninteresting and pointless. If that’s the alternative to an “epic globe stroll to save the world”, then give me the globe stroll. Or, just write something that doesn’t suck.

    • AngoraFish says:

      DA2 has an 82 metascore as of today, which is pretty bloody good (on the ‘current’ list of games this would leave it ranked equal 4th out of 20).

      I will be waiting for the user reviews rather than the professional reviews before going anywhere near D3.

      • Xardas Kane says:

        And Origins had 91. If that wasn’t a clear indication of the supposed fall-from-grace I don’t know what is. Precisely the press made me realize I shouldn’t get my hopes up for DA2.

      • NathanH says:

        82 is a pretty weak metacritic score for a Bioware RPG. Their other RPGs have PC scores of 95, 94, 93, 91, 91, 91, 89, 81.

        You have to take more into account than simply metacritic score to guess a game’s quality. An 82 for a Bioware RPG suggests it’s decent and playable but nothing special. An 82 for, say, Crusader Kings 2, suggests that’s it’s a pretty high quality Paradox game.

      • Askis says:

        If you’re looking at Metacritic scores, take a look at the user scores too.
        Where DA:O was well received by critics and players (91 + 8.4), DA2 was praised by critics and despised by the actual players (82 + 4.2).

        • Jackablade says:

          Or you could do a little reading and stop trying to build an opinion based on a set of arbitrary numbers.

          • Askis says:

            That’d be ideal ;)
            Anyway, it’s probably best not to preorder this and wait for (hopefully) honest reviews by actual players.

          • Flavioli says:

            Not so arbitrary, really… sure, the value itself doesn’t mean much (as in, what it means to be a 4 rather than a 6), but the fact that it’s so low should definitely raise some red flags. I’ve never enjoyed a game that had a user score lower than a 5… no matter how good critics said the game was. I think user scores should be seen more as a binary thing: if they are VERY low, it’s worth considering why users panned the game so much.

      • Prime says:

        Fuck Metacritic.

        You want a decent games industry again? Killing this absurdly artificial and meaningless way of scoring games would be an excellent start.

        • Arglebargle says:


          ***Waves fists and starts breaking out the Molotovs***

        • Dances to Podcasts says:

          There’s one thing worse than Metacritic: Metacritic player scores.

          • Jim Rossignol says:


          • Betamax says:


            Now everything is fair and balanced, what a great way of reviewing games!

          • Sheng-ji says:

            There is one thing metacritic is good for; gauging the ratio of haters to fanbois – which is useful to see if there is any point to visting the official forums for any particular game! The closer the score is to 5, the more balanced the ratio therefore the more value there is to be found on the games forums!

          • D3xter says:

            I find them very much fitting my opinion of games with Dragon Age 2 at 4.2 and Diablo 3 at a 3.7.
            Dragon Age 2 was an abomination and Diablo 3 is an Always-On DRM and Pay2Win Auction-House infested hellhole.

            I have yet to find a single game that is scored that low without any reason or merit, I know people are quick to put low ratings off as “haters” but I can’t agree.
            The games with stupid “early review-bombs” usually level out in the end, for instance I remember people reporting that Portal 2 was being “review-bombed”: link to eurogamer.net but it leveled out at 8.5.

            One thing is for certain though, and that is that I don’t really give a damn about review scores from “respectable publications” anymore since they aren’t anything else but additional marketing and I found them to often be rather worthless. I think the user score is a much better indication if there’s something wrong with a game.

      • Screamer says:

        82%? If you really want to look at scores I’d say the 42% user score is more telling. Compare that to DA:O ‘s 81% user score and you will clearly see which one had more happy customers.

      • paddymaxson says:

        I wish I could trust User Reviews. The problem with users is they find one or two thigns they don’t like and rate a game 0 out of 10. They seem to have no objectivity at all. You could provide a perfect game and some jackass will still rate it 0 out of 10. I’ve played maybe 2 games in my life that were 0 out of 10 material.

        • dE says:

          Good thing there are the rabid fanbois too. They usually balance out over a longer stretch. Read some 0 reviews, you’ll get the bad things. Read some 10 reviews, you’ll get the great things. Formulate your opinion based on more than one perspective (which every responsible human should be doing anyway). Doesn’t get much more easy than that.

        • Flavioli says:

          I see the metacritic user reviews as more of a “i liked it” versus “i didn’t like it” kind of thing, sorta like Rotten Tomatoes, since users tend to either vote 0 or 10 in average. As long as you don’t expect a rating that is consistent with that of a traditional review, this statistic can be good at pointing out whether or not many people got pissed off at the game. For example, DA2’s low score indicates that many people are *disappointed* at the game, which to me is a much much more telling statistic can whether or not critics thought the story was more interesting.

          • BatmanBaggins says:

            Exactly. Metacritic is inherently flawed, as we all know, but it’s still a decent metric for determining the overall reception of a game. I don’t think anyone should use it as their sole means of determining whether or not a game is good, but as a quick reference it serves its purpose. Sites like RPS are where I go to get a more nuanced opinion.

  7. Sorbicol says:

    I think I’m one of the few people who actually thought DA2 was better than DA:O – at least until that dogs dinner of an ending totally ruined what had gone before.

    I’m watching this with some interested, and also wondering if they are looking at how much Project Eternity took from kickstarter and how that will influence any further design decisions. I’m not entirely sure about the inquisition business, just feels like they don’t really know where to go next with the whole Templars v mages scenario so invented something else instead. Still wait and see I guess.

    • newc0253 says:

      I preferred DA:O – bigger game, greater complexity, yadda – but I really, really liked DA2 right up until the third act when all my choices in the game were completely disregarded:

      Me: I’m the hero of Kirkwall and, having just saved dozens of mages from templar persecution, would like to go on record for the seventeenth time as being a supporter of the mages and an implacable opponent of Merill, the shrill templar dictator of this city.

      Rebel mage: he’s with Merill! Kill him!

    • RobinOttens says:

      I’m sure that what Project Eternity took from kickstarter is only a fraction of the budget and sales expectations they have for Dragon Age 3. And I’m sure Bioware has always been aware that that core old-school rpg fanbase is there.

      Like a lot of people in these comments apparently, I’ll say I’m one of those who like DA2, though I’ve never gotten myself to go back and play it a second time. I loved it the first time around. Super-flawed, but entertaining.

      • Sorbicol says:

        Oh I agree DA3 will have a much bigger budget than Project Eternity, but when you’ve got that many people laying down cold hard cash for a really old school rpg I would imagine that even Bioware are likely to sit up and take notice. EA certainly will be.

        If they could meld DA:O mechanics with the DA2 combat engine I’d be pretty happy I think

  8. Cryptoshrimp says:

    Yeah, well, I’ll wait this one out.

  9. StranaMente says:

    I’m going to link smudboy’s Dragon age 2 plot analysis which is a very well formed and thought study of almost all the things Dragon age 2 did wrong.
    To be fair, the repetition of the enviroment and party customization are only the tip of the iceberg when the giant problems reside in the plot and the narrative.

    EDIT: if you don’t have time, at least watch the 4th part: link to youtu.be

  10. apocraphyn says:

    My significant other and myself have put well over 100 hours each into the original Dragon Age, over multiple playthroughs. She recently kicked me off my computer so that she could play it through once more, after having finished the Bhaalspawn saga.

    We both rushed through the sequel and never touched it again, however. The game wasn’t terrible as such, but it did make for a terrible sequel to Dragon Age: Origins. Even ignoring the sheer amount of flaws that pepper the game, it really lacks in terms of quantity and engagement.

    The sudden drop in quality of the sequel (as well as the focus on making a fully voiced protagonist and the limited conversation-dial options, basically spinning the game into being their fantasy equivalent of Mass Effect…ugh) makes me very dubious and hesitant about buying it close to release, especially considering how utterly ridiculous the reviews were upon DAII’s release. Fool me once, etc. etc. They certainly did a good job at alienating the fans of an entirely new franchise, straight out of the door.

  11. An Asian Dude says:

    I wonder how big of an impact this third instalment will make. The first DA was marketed as a resurrection to the CRPG genre, which was later mutilated by DA2’s aim for broad appeal and Hollywood-style flash. Now that we have Obsidian with their highly promising Eternity, would DA 3 still be relevant, one has to wonder.

    • Optimaximal says:

      Can they not co-exist, one filling the role as popular mass-market fantasy bash and the other the harder-core traditional branching RPG?

      • InternetBatman says:

        In this case Bioware is now trapped between Obsidian and Bethesda though. Obsidian has been doing choice and consequence better (NWN 2 to NWN, AP to ME), and Project Eternity looks like it could capture a lot of the goodwill of the extremely vocal core that Bioware once held. Bethesda does open world exploration and dumb combat a lot better (F3 to ME, Skyrim to DAII). There are a lot of companies that do dumb fantasy combat even better than Bethesda.

        On the RPG side of things Wasteland 2 and Shadowrun Returns are also coming in that time frame.

        That leaves Bioware uncomfortably searching for a niche. I hope they find it, because there’s still talent at the studio, but this game has to be really good for them to reestablish themselves.

  12. noodlecake says:


  13. noodlecake says:

    I’m mildy interested. Enjoyed the first to games. I thought the attempt to do something much different with the second game was refreshing and daring, despite not nailing it particularly well. I’m slightly frightened to show any more than a vague interest because any time the word “Bioware” is mentioned all the angry internet people resembling Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons come out and start throwing stones at you… Or extreme cynicism anyway.

  14. tkioz says:

    Personally I enjoyed DAII, the storyline was great, the characters were very impressive and rich with their own personal arcs, and the scale of time showing the character’s growth from refugee to champion was great… but OH DEAR GOD THE CAVES… they SUCKED.

    If they had mixed up the environments a bit, add some different areas, etc. it would of been a much much better game.

  15. Drake Sigar says:

    I half expect characters won’t even be able to fetch some milk from the corner store without performing unnecessary cartwheels and summersaults all the way there.

    • dorquemada says:

      Ha! Nice to see I was not alone to be peeved about this idiotic showing off. Hey Anders, it’s cool that you can twirl your staff like a powergaming monk of Kung Fu+5 Vorpal Order, but, you know — all that time you took learning the moves could have been used to learn more fucking spells. Because you are a fucking mage.

  16. woodsey says:

    Any news on whether or not they’ll keep on ignoring past choices? I mean really, if they couldn’t be bothered to actually take note and adjust for them, why’d they let us import saves in the first place?

    • Nathan Grayson says:

      They said they plan to honor past choices, but they’re hoping to find a way to do it without save imports, oddly enough. So, um, half hooray?

      • Supahewok says:

        The news that they won’t be putting up that effort is what really kills this for me. I mean, look how many times they’ve done this before, basically all of their series since BG have implemented some sort of save import. It’s one of the things that I think Bioware is famous for by this point. So, if they’re ALREADY cutting corners with one their most touted mechanics… well, it does not inspire me with any confidence.

        Note that I’m not angry that that feature is not in the game. I don’t have time to play through the other DA’s to build my perfect little save file. It’s the obvious corner cutting that’s just… agh.

  17. Soulstrider says:

    To counter all the negative, despite all the problems I still maintain DAII was one of the best Bioware stories, the story progress felt organic, from a nobody to an hero and honestly I was sick and tired of the Start in X place then visit A,B,C in any order and you then unlock boss Y (since one of the problems of this approach is that it always turns the middle paths in self contained stories with no impact on the overrall progress until the end). And the quality of story itself when it comes to Mages vs Templars and the Qunari actually was pretty decent.

    • HisMastersVoice says:

      Pretty decent in relation to what? Other Bioware games I guess, since they never had good stories to begin with. And neither does DA2, except it follows a well known literary template so it kinda score a save point there.

      Bioware had a few good characters, but damn, they can’t pen/direct a decent script for life.

      • Soulstrider says:

        Pretty decent in relation to other videogames in general, it was by no means bad but it’s wasn’t anything particularly good. It’s was ok and kept me reasonably interested so it did is job.

        Though I do agree that Biowares strong point is it’s characters and not the story, also the worldbuilding is usually pretty detailed.

      • ffordesoon says:

        No, you’re thinking of plot. They can’t plot a main narrative well at all – at least, not recently.

  18. wotsit says:

    DAII always makes me feel a bit like Mark Twain felt about Jane Austen; whenever anyone tells me sunnily that they didn’t think it was as bad as everyone made out, that, sure, it had those repetitive environments, but the writing was pretty good, I’m incapable of forming the reasoned critical response the discussion deserves, because I immediately find myself too enraged to do anything other than yell, ‘insanity used two-dozen times as the sum of a character’s motivations’, ‘talking decapitated zombie heads making maudlin speeches set to weepy music’, ‘an entire third of the PC’s voiced dialogue, presumably at great expense, devoted to deeply unfunny cod-sarcastic total non-sequiturs that every NPC ignores’, ‘an event that everyone compares explicitly to the Holocaust – which is itself tone-deaf, facile and awful, without having anything of interest to say about the actual atrocities – which then turns out never to have happened’. Then I wave my arms wildly and run about in circles until I feel dizzy and fall down.

  19. almostNormal says:

    “the main character will once again be confined to greasy, filth-spurting human flesh”

    seriously? again? what a shame …

  20. Dariune says:

    I have doubts that Bioware will ever make a game to my tastes again.

    I think it four games now, where not only did i not like them, but i found they were actually really poor quality (Except graphics)

    And other companies have climbed onto the pedestal that Bioware so unceremoniously fell off of. CDP, Obsidian (Maybe) etc etc.

    No, I think i will not only wait for user reviews but I will then wait a further few months to make sure I have read enough user reviews to be sure on its quality.

  21. Stackler says:

    If they go down the same story telling road they went down when developing Mass Effect 3, I have no hope for this.

  22. Phinor says:

    Am I the only one who thinks their use of the word customization doesn’t sound good? It immediately makes me think of Mass Effect series and other similar games where you can’t equip your companions at all. Well you can choose between few skins and a weapon but that’s about it. I want proper inventories in my arh-pee-gees.

    I mean I’m really nit-picking here. This is ridiculous (from my part). But I hate that word because these days it simply means “less options, less choice than you used to get” instead of the proper meaning of the word.

    I really hope Bioware succeeds with DA3. They have to, really. EA isn’t known to be patient.

    • Stackler says:

      That’s because the brains of ALL todays rpg developers are full of crap. The genre is dead and everyone is beating it’s rotten corpse. Why can’t somebody with enough creativity and intellect resurrect the genre with new ideas? Oh yeah, sorry I forgot, everyone is busy with making their “old school rpg’s”, as if that’s the holy grail.

    • Mana_Garmr says:

      My biggest disappointment with DA:O, and there were a few despite enjoying it overall, was when they released the character creator for people to mess around with before the main game.

      I was expecting something along the lines of the websites you can find for NWN and NWN2 where you can work your way through all the levels seeing what feats and skills you can choose at each level and what they give you access to.
      Instead you chose a race/class combo, were shown the two talents you’d start with, and were then sent to the facial customisation which was apparently supposed to be the big draw.

  23. sonson says:

    I loved DA:O for its ambition, scale and attempt to really provide a proper lived in world to explore. Thing is you also had to save that World so after a while the context just become irrelevant-Dark Spawn might have fucked the Dwarves in the Deep Roads but I cleared them with three other pals in the space of a month, for example.

    But it’s heart was very much in the right place. There really was a lot to it, a lot of it was of very good quality, it was very rich if not deep (though still deeper than most offerings these days) and it played very well as far as I’m concerned- quests were larlgey decent with some good twists, exploring felt right, the gear you collected was suitably interesting, the fights were good fun and on a good scale, the lore was pretty strong as far as re-imagined grim dark fantasy worlds go.
    For me Dragon Age 2 was very much what people were worried DA:O would be, and Origins is very much separated from it in everything but name.

    I doubt any RPG is going to surpass the Witcher 2 any time soon in terms of pure immersion and execution but if they focus more on ensuring that the mechanics and leveling is bound by verisimilitude then Dragon Age 3 will probably be a very enjoyable game.

  24. ludde says:

    Here’s to hoping they bring back depth to the series. Maybe even the top-down view.

    • kament says:

      Here’s hoping top-down view rests in peace. Or, well, stays on Kickstarter projects or whatever. I was very much glad when they started to make videogames more like actually video games, and not just some kind of a conversion of cardboard games, and I’m not looking forward to this weird retrofuture everyone seem to be so excited about nowadays.

      • sonson says:

        Why limit a medium which has creativity and flexibility amongst it’s greatest strengths? Games like XCOM for example are (and were) basically board/skirmish games for people who don’t have friends/inclination to play physical board/skirmish games. None of the above suffer for it’s existence though. They’re all games at the end of the day, all about having fun and imagining possibilities, they shouldn’t be defined by the materials they’re made of.

        • kament says:

          I’m just sceptical or even wary about this whole “return of the days when we were younger and the games were better” affair, you cannot step twice into the same stream and all that; and I don’t think top-down view would really add any depth to, say, DA2. Simply because enemies come in droves waves to begin with.

          • Prime says:

            Relax. No-one – but no-one – is saying we should dump all the great developments that have occurred in gaming over the last ten years. They’re just saying that we want to return to a time when creativity was more abundant, to beloved genres that people still fondly remember and miss by their absence, genres that may offer the industry as a whole a way out of the repetitive, industrial, overly-homogenous, utterly predictable and gameplay-averse factory that it seems to have become thanks to faceless suits who dream only of money.

            You sit and fret all you want. Me? I’m going to look forward to a bright new golden age of gaming.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            @Karment – I’m seconding what Prime is saying! It’s not that we want RPG’s to revert back to isometric – I love over the shoulder myself – but it’s fair to say isometric is cheaper and easier to produce compared to a similar quality over the shoulder true 3D. That means the developer has more money to put into the idea’s that make his or her game fun.

            Some games do trade on how good looking they are over how much fun they are, if a game uses a visual style that is more functional than dazzling, the game stands or falls on it’s gameplay and that is a huge reason for the desire for “old school games”, there is no-where for them to hide!

          • D3xter says:

            I’d be perfectly fine with them reverting RPGs to ~10 years ago to the times of ToEE, Gothic 2 and Vampire: Bloodlines. Not much of value would be lost.

        • MistyMike says:

          >>>Games like XCOM for example are (and were) basically board/skirmish games for people who don’t have friends/inclination to play physical board/skirmish games.

          THE MOST RIDICULOUS THING I read in the comments here since September 2011.

          • sonson says:

            You can’t have read very much on XCOM of late then, it’s a comparison been drawn by Kerion Gillen, Idle Thumbs, Tom Chick, Three Moves Ahead to name just a few. I’ll just stand by it in their ridiculous company I suppose.

          • x1501 says:

            I don’t care who said it, it still sounds ridiculous.

          • sonson says:

            You can’t see how a turn based game which is about units with particular stats and equipment who act through action points doing combat across a gridded battlefield against other units with action points broadly resembles board and skirmish games which feature units with particular stats and equipment whose actions are determined by action points?

          • x1501 says:

            First, the board game comparison is rather meaningless, since it could just as easily be applied to almost any game that uses turns or stats, from Civilization to Fallout to HoMM to Neverwinter Nights. It’s simply where most video games originated from many years ago, not what they stand for today. Second, it’s not your reference to board games that I found ridiculous, but the rest of your rather inane statement. Just because you can track Baldur’s Gate back to its D&D roots, doesn’t automatically establish that people who play it only do so because they are either loners or not interested in playing any of its board game equivalents. It’s a complete non sequitur.

          • sonson says:

            I can see how you construe that if you take it out of the context of the question I was answering. It wasn’t an absolute statement but a response to a specific point.

            I happen to enjoy playing Xcom on my own for the same reason I also enjoy skirmish and board games with others, and I know plenty of my other friends do, so it’s far from being a weird or inane assertion. The two can completely stand beside each other though and share different appeals, I wouldn’t disagree with that at all, neither in word or practice, but they share major similarities to the extent that they are easy to spot unless you want to be obtuse or condescending. The same applies to the majority of the games you mention.

      • NathanH says:

        I’m not sure what you’re talking about. The high camera view was simply the most effective way to play the game for the most part, since it is usually preferable in a RTwP party-based game to be able to see all your enemies and party members at once.

        • Flavioli says:

          It sounds to me like he’s more interesting in playing the kind of game where you click on your enemy until it dies, rather than something even slightly tactical. It’s the demographic Bioware is trying to capture (that is, those with the attention-span of a walnut).

      • InternetBatman says:

        Top down view is merely another way of showing the action, and for some purposes a better way. It encourages tactical combat and by making positioning and awareness much easier. This in turn, drives good developers to make the enemies smarter, which means smarter combat all together. There’s a reason that there are so few first person RTS games.

      • Flavioli says:

        Ugh, I wish people like yourself would stick to your CoD and Battlefield rather than encouraging change on the types of genres that I like… you have SO many options to choose from, whereas people like myself are now left with absolutely nothing to choose from.

  25. Ghoulie says:

    Apparently they’re keeping the voiced character/dialogue wheel combo, which immediately makes me not interested.
    It seriously is a step back when your options are three levels of paraphrased snark.

    At least I can look forward to Project Eternity as a spiritual successor to Baldur’s Gate and the other IE games, because it’s obvious that this is just fantasy Mass Effect.

    • NathanH says:

      The wheel system worked pretty well in Mass Effect because the character was quite likeable and well-defined. The character in DA2 was not well-defined and also a massive cock, which causes problems.

      I’d say the dialogue wheel approach is only worthwhile if you can go through the whole game picking random options and not appearing deranged. You can pretty much do this in Mass Effect, but in Dragon Age 2 you just look mental.

      • InternetBatman says:

        I haven’t played ME3 yet, but I found Shepard to be the opposite of likable. (S)He’s annoyingly stoic (or mad) and lacks even the slightest trace of humor, and I think he’s the weakest part of the series by far.

        I always get distracted by the cognitive dissonance when a character says something that’s different from what’s actually written down.

  26. Spinks says:

    I liked the first two for different reasons, so I’ll get this. DA2 was quite ambitious with its storytelling and I’d love to see them experiment a bit more with that (although this sounds to me more playing it a bit safer).

    I would have liked a trilogy of games that were recognisably the same genre though :)

  27. aepervius says:

    They burned me with DA 2. Now it will not be a preorder, it will not be a buy at first day, it will not even be a buy after 1 week. It will be wait for a month or two, and if it is not too bad, then buy at a week end sale.

  28. drewski says:

    I’m feeling optimistic about Obsidian’s Kickstarter project.

  29. Aydrian says:

    I don’t really mind the whole only human thing. I mean really, did choosing your race actually effect your story at all? There were only a few conversations that changed because of your race, and the boon you can choose at the end was different. That’s pretty much it.

    DAO was a great game, but in an effort to bash everything Bioware does these days, people like to remember it as being better than it actually was. I mean come on, really think about it. In DAO, did your racial choice REALLY matter? Because as I recall, and I played through the game multiple times, 95% of the dialogue and interactions were exactly the same no matter what race I was.

    Besides, there’s an actual reason for this.

    From the information we know of, you’re the leader of the Inquisition, an order that was created to fight blood mages. They were later absorbed into the Chantry, an order that consists of mostly humans by the way, and became the Seekers of Truth and the Templar Order. Both orders of which are full of mostly humans.

    Lets not forget that the Humans, Elves, and Dwaves do not agree on exactly who The Maker is, they even have different names for him. But the Chantry, again an order consisting of mostly humans, still considers this a Chantry matter. Remember, the beliefs about the dangers of magic are NOT shared between their religions.

    Taking all of that into consideration, if you’re the leader of the new Inquisition, or will be, then chances are extremely high that you’re human. You people seem to believe it’s all laziness on their part, but if you actually check out the lore it makes a lot more sense that you couldn’t choose to be an Elf or Dwarf.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Your racial choices didn’t matter that much, but they came into play at exactly the right time, particularly the dwarven noble story.

    • kament says:

      I personally don’t mind human only policy, too, but I must say, racial choices in DA:O did really matter. They didn’t change the main plot, sure, but every now and then you were reminded who you were playing, nevermind origin stories themselves.

  30. Hoaxfish says:

    one level in Dragon Age III is as big as all of the levels in Dragon Age II

    DA2 being the game widely known for massive resuse of relatively tiny maps. Doesn’t exactly seem like a challenge to pull off “bigger than all that”.

    And at the same time, why is size by itself a good selling point? It could be masses of empty ground to walk across, incredibly long loading screens, etc rather than a tight level design with minimal reuse.

    • dE says:

      You’ve just described the Deep Roads.

      • desolateshroud says:

        It’s an unpopular opinion here but, I liked the Deep Roads section of DA1. It was lengthy and grindy, but I think that was on purpose. It felt like an epic struggle. After all you are descending into the hornets’ nest where Grey Wardens go to do die and coming out on top.

        • colw00t says:

          I loved the Deep Roads in DA:O. The environment was fairly samey, true, but it really felt like an incredibly difficult and risky strike back behind enemy lines. I also liked the way that, in progressing through it, you were travelling back in time to sections of the old Dwarven realms that hadn’t seen a Dwarf in centuries. I liked the feeling of grand spaces that even though they’re decayed and abandoned, still make you marvel. None of this is particularly groundbreaking stuff, but it was executed pretty well.

          Part of that might have been because my Warden was a Dwarf, who went back to kick ass and take names at the earliest opportunity, though. The Deep Roads was his first real dungeon and it felt a lot scarier when I didn’t have seventeen thousand poultices to drink (biggest problem with DA:O, right there) and a bajillion spells and buffs to use.

          • sonson says:

            I loved the Deep roads as a concept and as a looming threat which was alluded to, that bit was brilliant. Sure it was basicaly Moria but I still really enjoyed being immersed in it, and Orzammar on the threshold of it all. The bit where you go to the first Thaig really establishes the tranisition and danger well.

            But from then on it never really builds and it turns out the deep roads is just loads of Dark Spwan like everywhere else, just underground and for longer. And becuase I’m a rogue with dexterity so high you can’t even hit me I went and did what generations of Dwarf armies hadn’t been able to do with three other party members and cleared them of all that I encountered, and it was all “hey, not so bad after all”. It basically dismantled all the good stuff singlehandedly by not scaling the gameplay with the narrative.

          • kament says:

            Let’s not forget that all the while Grey Warden struggles through the Deep Roads, darkspawn horde is ravaging Ferelden. So nobody clears anything. Get in, get Paragon, get out, that’s the task. Pretty much what Hawke does a bit later in that brief period when Deep Roads are not swarming with darkspawn.

          • colw00t says:

            One of the big problems with the Deep Roads section is that they undersold what you’re trying to accomplish, which is a high-risk evac mission. It feels like you plow through half the darkspawn army, when in reality you’re only dealing with stragglers and odd patrols. More emphasis on how many you are avoiding and how the whole thing would be utterly impossible if half the Darkspawn weren’t up on the surface screwing things up would have made the mission feel a lot better.

  31. Randomer says:

    Is that Lavos in the background of that picture?

  32. Themadcow says:

    Bioware taking criticism seriously? Meh, I’ve just had a flashback to Michael Bay apologising and promising to take on board the criticism of Transformers 2… before making Transformers 3.

    • Prime says:

      To be fair, 3 is the one I can stand the most. That’s like saying it’s the least disgusting-smelling turd but it was better than 2, by quite some distance. One must hope that Bioware has at least this much talent left to do the same – or, he says optimistically, even better – for DA3.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      I thought the transformer games were really good myself!

      EDIT: You’re talking about the movies!! My apologies

    • Stackler says:

      Well, a pile of crap will always be a pile of crap, no matter what number you tack on it :-p

  33. Prime says:

    As someone who doesn’t like Dragon Age, having bounced off of Origin’s incredible ugliness, tedium and appalling dialogue, and who gave the second game a complete miss based on the plethora of negative reviews, I’ve always seen the Dragon Age series as ‘RPG-Lite’, RPGs for people who want to sample the experience without polluting themselves with any actual role-playing: “Because role-playing’s for NERDS, man! Me? I just wanna kill stuff with my axe!”

    But then, I spent over 150 hours in Skyrim, itself a rather watered down version of the RPG experience, so I reckon it’s the series itself that is to blame. I sense nothing but a slow clap of overall MEH coming from this thread: “Okay, yeah, but I’m cautious, and I’ve played better in recent times.”

    DA3 is gonna have to be special to recapture the interest of people like me, and frankly I just don’t think EA/Bioware have it in them any more.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      I agree, the first thing I noticed about DA:O was the enemies seemed to have been cut and pasted from the imagination of cliffy B – there was no dimension to them, no reason for them to be so unwavingly evil – just they are demons, therefore they are hunks of meat that kill for no reason, therefore they must all be killed.

      I actually really enjoyed the game up to a point, the world had enough about it to be interesting and the combat had the potential to be a tactical challenge, but it never fulfilled it’s potential.

      EDIT: I’ve done Cliffy B a huge disservice – the locusts from Gears of War were seriously complex and multifaceted compared to the darkswarm.

    • Stackler says:

      I think that’s a good point. I can’t stand the watered down games that carry the label “RPG”, simply because they aren’t. Bioware threated their fan base like shit, because they wanted to cater to a bigger audience. If someone doesn’t want to play a RPG, why try to sell it to him and water it down until it is some kind of Gears of War with fantasy fluff?

      I don’t like sports games, so I just don’t play them. It’d never came to me to demand that sports games need to have more “rpg elements” or crap like that.

  34. Lambchops says:

    “one level in Dragon Age III is as big as all of the levels in Dragon Age II”

    Ugh. To me that reads as “remember that really long tedious Deep Roads bit that was the worst part of the first Dragon Age. Well that’s back and you’ll bloody like it or else.”

    The problem in Dragon Age II wasn’t the size of the environments it was the lack of variety and in fact use of the same map for several caves that wore thin.

    I’m with Nathan on DAII as it happens, somethings were nice ideas and very close to working well but they didn’t quite pan out and with the aforementioned lack of variety and annoying waves of enemies ultimately left a game that was . . . alright.

  35. Katar says:

    Are we still going to be stuck with the shitty camera? As apparently it’s more important to have nice ceilings then to have a useful tactical camera.

    It would also be nice that if I told a character to stand somewhere and stay there they stayed there. Even if I move the rest of my party away that character should stay there. Not run towards the others when they get a certain distance away, which was pretty damn close compared to the distance I had between characters in DA:O.

  36. Mokes says:

    Dragon Age II.
    Mass Effect 3.

    You already have three strikes, BioWare. Not interested in any more of your goods. All of the people who had talent already left. The only one with a modicum of talent left, Drew Kapyshyrn, is too much of a pushover and does anything you tell him.

    Not even going to mention how they treat their fanbase.

    • Lanfranc says:

      Drew Karpyshyn left BioWare as well back in February. I think he’s working on a series of fantasy novels now.

  37. InternetBatman says:

    So they have to make a game to prove they’re still great, but they have to do it with new leaders, on a new engine, while under publisher control and then release it to a market with far greater competition than they’ve seen in years.

    This is how bad their position is: they’ve lost publisher independence; their leaders are gone; they’re making the game in an external engine (they did a fine job with ME, but the vast majority of their games have been on an internal engine); they’re facing a resurgent RPG market with a lot more competition (Wasteland 2, Project Eternity, Shadowrun Returns, Dead State, even Age of Decadence); the PC version will be tied to Origin while their competitors will be on Steam (and Mac and Linux for that matter); they’ve lost the adoration and forgiveness of fans.

  38. craigdolphin says:

    DAO is my favourite game of all time. But the DA2 experience has soured me tremendously. I hate the change in art style. I hate the inability to initialize conversations with companions on-the-road. I hate the lack of armor customization for companions. I hate the over the top combat animations that feel like something from a jrpg. I hate the lack of a tactical camera that makes it hard to place aoe spells. I hate the rebalancing of combat so we deal with endless numbers of trash mobs and have to spam the mouse to aquire new targets every 2 seconds even with auto attack on. I hate the puerile treatment of sex scenes (to be fair, origins sucked on this front too).

    My long time fanboy of bioware status has morphed into something much less happy and much more cynical. Their ongoing insistence on the mandatory origin client since me3, and before that their insistence on sh*t like securom, has left me madder than a caffeine deprived hornet.

    Right now, I’m angry and bitter towards Bioware. So my outlook on DA3 is pretty negative since much of the little we know is that it will be based primarily on the DA2 design vision, with seemingly only a token restoration of player agency and customization ala origins. Perhaps they’ll be able to change my mind. But right now their games are having to measure up to titles from other developers again: skyrim, the witcher 2, and project eternity all are quite different rpgs but all are better looking, and more engaging than the horrible mess that was da2. DA3 has a heck of a lot of convincing to do before i consider purchasing it. And unlike previous titles, there’s zero chance of a preorder, and i won’t be buying a console version for my wife in addition to the pc version. I used to do that so we could both play simultaneously. But neither of us is bothered by having to wait for the other to finish the game any more. The enthusiasm is gone.

  39. pilouuuu says:

    I thinking that if Bioware has the ability to listen to complains with both DA:O and DA2 and that they take a look at what other developers are doing and what made themselves great in the past, then they could make a truly good game.

    They already said they were interested in a semi-open world like in Skyrim, which I find interesting. If they include the night/day cycle from DA2 much better and hopefully they’ll make the cities change over time now.

    They could also focus more on a good story, like Project Eternity will surely do and like they did with Baldur’s Gate 2.

    No filler stuff! There’s no need to make it a 200 hrs game by having stuff like the Fade or the spamming of enemies out of nowhere from DA2.

    They could also take a look at how successful XCOM is and make its combat system more tactical, which doesn’t mean it can’t look cool too.

    I think Bioware still can make an outstanding game and they listen to what fans want or else we wouldn’t have got the Mass Effect ending fix DLC. But this is the last chance I’ll give them!

  40. kament says:

    For all this talk about how DA2 was [insert pretty much any of the above comments on the matter], I’m sure it would’ve been great game, given enough time. (It still was good enough for me to roll my eyes at all those retarded 0-2-…-6/10.) So, since DA3 is not rushed, I’m fairly optimistic. Though it sure will receive its share of hate for “human only thing” alone.

  41. Jimbot says:

    If I can select my color-coded ending that will leave me speculating, I think the game will be the most artistic things ever!

  42. Betamax says:

    I agree with Nathan’s sentiments. DA2 missed the mark in various areas, and is definitely one of BioWare’s least polished games which is cause for concern as they used to be all about balancing polish and ambition. However what it got right worked really well, and it did improve over DAO in some areas. Some of the overreactions to it make my eyebrows raise so high that if they could jump they would break Felix’s record.

    Liking what I am seeing from DA3 so far, but it’s very early days. Always nice to see a developer acknowledging mistakes were made, they certainly don’t always do that, and it’ll be interesting to see how they address them going forward.

  43. D3xter says:

    “Like” and “Dragon Age II” doesn’t fit in a sentence together in any sane persons mind…

    Also what did it “try” to do? First there’s the MMO-typical “collect 50 gold coins” quest, then the game relegates the player to visiting the same “city” (at least that’s what they call it) again and again in an endless quest for area-recycling.

    “Time passed, things changed”? NOTHING changed at all…

    People can try to hype it all they want, but anyone with their faculties still together should be immune to that by now. :P

  44. fooga44 says:

    The real problem is dragon age is just not a very good series. DA1 one was a bad lord of the rings rip off with combat that was just mind numbingly slow and boring. The real issue is bioware is bad at making RPG’s… there I said it. Most people who come to bioware RPG’s divide into two camps: Story wankers and dungeon crawlers. The only thing bioware is good at is making universes – but even then it’s hit or miss, mass effect being one of it’s successes.

    Everyone who whines about DA2 with it’s much superior sped up combat and more impactful combat animations is moronic. The only fundamental difference between combat in DA1 and DA2 is speed. It’s still automated to high heaven and back for the reflexless retards that are attracted to PC RPG’s. PC RPG’s outside of the original classics (eye of the beholder) tend to have crappy combat systems and they mostly survive on bioware fandom not because the games themselves are really any good.

    Dungeon crawling should be what you are doing 90% of the time you are in an RPG so the combat should be great, but bioware has survived too long on a tasteless audience who have no gaming skills and who love autocombat to death (they’d rather watch the story then play a videogame).

    If you really look at DA1 it was awful storywise, the characters were hackish rip offs of toklien-esque generic fantasy characters. The whole “darkspawn” bit was just awful. If anyone thinks DA1 had an awesome story they deserve a darwin award.

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      So, something that is like something else is automatically a bad story?

      You must luuuuurve Shakespeare…

    • Stackler says:

      Also don’t forget that nearly EVERY SINGLE story by Bioware is the same. Big bad asshole threatens the whole world/universe/everything that exists and your only way to win is to “collect” a lot of companions which problems you have to solve because they are all wankers that can’t help themselves. YOU, as the main character, are not more than a blank sheet of paper and there is no character development apart from skills and abilities.

      Bioware has serious flaws with their view on RPGs and I’m not willing to support them with my hard earned money anymore.

      • kament says:

        Took you long enough. I mean, they’ve been around for a good long decade with their silly stories, right?

  45. brkl says:

    Move into a wrecked mansion full of corpses, live there for five years without cleaning a single cobweb or moving a single body somewhere better suited for a corpse.

  46. plumbob says:

    DA2’s story just makes no damn sense, it is so full of holes it was unbearable. Seems like a Game of Thrones fan fiction, all these talky, political, conniving plot lines, but no follow through. Just hit it with a big stick because in the end we can’t spin a tale well enough to bring this around to any sort of satisfying conclusion, and then wait for three years for the next sputtering plot line while in the mean time nothing changes.

    At least Origins demanded a modicum of consistency, if a hackneyed main plot line. And there were some real gem’s in the side plots.

    Either way, BioWare has a record of stinkers these days. Seems they’ve not figured out what publishers of movies and books have figured out long ago… One writer works best, and if you don’t like the story, give it a pass and make something else. Oh, and generally just don’t make sequels.

  47. plumbob says:

    Oh and pleeeeeeeese lose the dialog wheel. I’m not six, I can read, and I can even interpret nuanced choices from time to time, really I can, no really.

    • kament says:

      You really can read? That’s brilliant and so very rare these days. Go buy yourself a book, then.

  48. Megakoresh says:

    I agree fully on the reviewer’s point about DAII. It was not a bad game, it was simply not not good enough.

    It had awful copy/paste all over, it had little involvement with characters (although the characters themselves were laid out very well) and a dry storyline, but the combat was a little more refined, the storyline was a LOT more personal, which is the best thing about DAII IMO and the DLCs for it were all good, without an exception.

    Now Mass Effect 3 is what killed the studio for me. That game was just plain bad. Not the “final note” bad, just outright awful game. It had no character development, no exploration, no lovable mini-stories I liked so much from ME1 and ME2, very little dialogue when compared to the previous ME games and horrendous objective interface in one single hub world. Oh and the only at least remotely interesting character was in day1 DLC (!!!).

    Someone who can screw up the greatest sci-fi trilogy of the decade so much deserves no mercy, and even more so: someone as ignorant as to say that we are basically too dumb to understand the game and that “Look at all those arbitrary numbers that EA has bribed! Our game as amazing, your tastes are bad and you should feel bad!” That is something that indicates: BioWare is not exception to general EA-degradation law. It has fallen. Perhaps it might remedy itself with DA3, but only if they remember something:

    WE do NOT like the games you create. It is YOU, who create what WE like.

  49. GhostBoy says:

    I’m one of the apparently few people on the planet as well, who can look past some of the more obvious flaws in DA II, and notice something worthwhile underneath. The reused maps are the least of my problems and while prevelant, hardly something worth getting up in arms about. ME I, that many seem to consider a good game, was riddled with reused interiors.

    I do list the lack of impact of choice, where they managed to not even preserve the illusion of choice that is sometimes all it takes for a story to maintain internal consistency, as the games biggest failing. But the game sported some of the more interesting (if at a few points along the way, clichéd) characters in the RPGs of the time, it managed to improve the combat formula to where it was both more enjoyable to use, and allowed for a variety of stategies and party builds (as opposed to DA:O, where mage + AoE was the only tactic that made an ounce of sense to use). The change of setting and scope was a good attempt at avoiding stepping too heavily on the toes of DA:O as well (if you wanted big hero save the world plots, you had that game after all).

    While I was as bitter as the rest of the internet about the bungled ME III ending, the rest of that game is still loads of fun, and most importantly the Directors Cut ending did, for me, fix all my major concerns and resolve precisely the non sequiturs that irked me.

    So if BioWare can make me play what is commonly held to be one of their poorer games for 160+ hours, and can manage to restore my interest in a game I had shelved in bitter disappointment after one playthrough (with a bit of not-so-subtle prodding from the internet, including the RPS users), I think I will allow myself to be somewhat optimistic about DA III. What I’m seeing from them recently supports that they are stepping away from the notions that ideals about a game trumph what works for the game.

    Now they just have to make the choices matter, and provide noticeable differences in the tone of the story along the way, and hopefully also in the presence of at least some plot points and approach to solve them, and I, for one, will probably welcome our new Darkspawn overlords once this comes out.

    • Megakoresh says:

      Yeah I can agree with you on the point of DA2, as you can see above I have a similar opinion. But as for ME3, I can’t possible agree. I just don’t understand it, did you play the previous two games? There is no way anyone can deem “the rest” of ME3 fun, unless their main source of enjoyment in such a game is the combat, which for me, it is not.

      The game completely betrayed everything that was good about the trilogy. How many interesting new characters did you see in ME3? Did you observe any kind of character development at all (except for EDI)? Did the game have any exploration? Did it have more or at least as many dialogues as in ME1 and ME2? Did it, in fact, even have as many dialogues as the previous games? Did it have exploration? Side-stories? No. None of that was there.

      On top of that a lot of the game was done in a “in your face” style which left a bitter taste in my mouth as it was obviously a kind of message along the lines of:
      “Hey, see this character? See him? He says exactly what he said in the previous game! Awesome, isn’t it? See? We did not forget the fans! Got it? Alright, enough then, let’s go! More shooting, less talking!”
      Honestly only Thane seemed like a seamless organic integration in the storyline. All the others appeared tacked on.

      I would love to hear what you have to say on these points, because I try, but fail to see any proof to disprove them. I can’t enjoy ME3 in the slightest when I am not shooting someone in the face, but that’s what the Multiplayer is for, and that, of all things, was the best thing about ME3. The Multiplayer. The very notion of it is upsetting, considering what ME trilogy was supposed to be about.