Have You Played… Dragon Age II?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

I don’t want to talk about reused environments or mages running rampant or plot holes or spawning enemies or… I don’t care. I want to talk about Kirkwall, more specifically how I really like Dragon Age II [official site] following up on another tedious ‘roam the world saving it from ancient evil’ fantasy gufffest to focus on one city over a few years. It’s great that, isn’t it? Pay attention, boring fantasy RPGs.

Dragon Age II is (mostly) set in and around the city of Kirkwall. You arrive as a refugee to stay with relatives, then over the years rise in fame and fortune to the lofty title of Champion of Kirkwall. You’re based around the city, always returning though adventures may take you outside. You get to know its streets and people, and see them change over time. The game skips a few years between chapters, returning to reflect (a few) changes to your pals and other characters. The world carried on without your interaction, perhaps following lines you set it in but ultimately recognising you’re only one person. From my pals falling in love and pursuing their own schemes to the growing threat of the Qunari, I enjoyed seeing the city and people I knew develop.

It could do a lot more with this time-skipping, but all the reused environments show that clearly the game was tight on development time and budget. It squanders the potential of the city and its history, but that’s big-budget video games for you. Dragon Age II has a whole load of other problems I find too boring to get into, as that first sentence hints, but I was happy to live in and save a city. I’m sick of saving the whole world, and welcome further downscaling.

194 Comments

  1. somnolentsurfer says:

    I’ve always found the hatred directed against DA2 for it’s failure to tell an ‘epic’ story to be very strange. It’s a game that sets out to tell a story that is epic in terms of the time that it spans rather than the geography. It was a really interesting idea, and sadly the reaction to it means it’s one that probably won’t be tried again for a good while.

    Sure, it’s not without it’s failings. The sense of epic scale would have been greatly aided if we saw more of the city changing over time. But it’s a game with a great high concept that it doesn’t get enough credit for.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      the hatred directed against DA2 for it’s failure to tell an ‘epic’ story

      I’m pretty sure there’s been approximately zero of that ever. I love small-scale stories. I love cities, whether they’re modern, historical, or fantasy. Kirkwall never felt like a city.

      DA2 was a hideous execution of some half-decent ideas. You get no points for mere originality when the actual product is so poor on just about every level. Some of the characters were ok, but really that’s it.

      • Orillion says:

        I’ve run into a ton of hate against the smaller scope of the story, actually. And I believe the parts come together in such a way that it feels like a game made by Obsidian.

        • StarkeRealm says:

          Yeah, the smaller scale, combined with the grey morality threw a lot of Bioware fans for a loop, and they hated it.

          So, Bioware scampered off back to doing their Saint Baby Eater choices and saying the characters were morally grey in the press releases.

          • pizzapicante27 says:

            I’ve never seen anyone complain about the story except those that are defending the game, most people complain that the game is boring… which it is.

          • StarkeRealm says:

            Hang out on Bioware’s forums, Pizza, you’ll see it there.

          • skittles says:

            @pizza, seriously man, what are you smoking? Your argument doesn’t even make sense. And you even repeat it multiple times here and below in the comments.

            The only people complaining about the story in DAII are those defending it? WHATSIT? Huh now? How does that even make sense. They are saying something in the game is bad, so they are defending it?

            If they complain about anything else in the game, they think that the game is crap, like you. However, if they are complaining about the story, well the ONLY ones doing that are defending the game.

            Do you know how illogical you sound?

          • StarkeRealm says:

            @Skittles, he’s trying to claim it’s a straw man fallacy… without actually saying it’s a straw man fallacy.

          • Aerouge says:

            He says that the “players complain about the story is not epic” argument is only ever used by players defending the game, so they can defuse this complaint.

            Because ALL the other arguments like Re-Used maps in EVERY Dungeon, enemys spawning out of nowhere and for no real reason and plain sloppy textures. I remeber the elf sailors next to the entrance of the harbour having so few polygons and next to no texture so that when the player character stood next to them they seemed not like NPC but like some cardboard placed there so the map wasnt empty.

            Among all the forums I´ve been (and I spend a good amount of time on bioware upon release) no body complained about the game having a small scale, but tons of people complained that the game was plain bad and sloppy made and that this was glaring at every corner. The game was so boring I stopped plaing right after the qunari boss fight (which was utterly bullcrap as my character was a big friend of the qunari … but the game needed a mid-level-boss you know?).

            Also the anoying “Hey we saved your choices from part 1 … meet King Alistair … wait you killed him in part 1? Oh look a Three-headed monkey!” stuff was a really terrible start … like ugh… I want to finish this game for years but cant bring myself to finish the savegame or to start it again out of fear that it ruins more memories from DA:O …

            DA II was an utterly bad cashgrab that stopped me from pre-ordering ever since. Much like “Towns” stopped me from buying EA games.

      • ffordesoon says:

        No, i’ve seen tons of people get stroppy about the lack of “epicness” and confinement to a single city. This is, I think, because they lack the ability to articulate what they actually didn’t like about Kirkwall, which is that it didn’t feel like a city, or did so only rarely. It felt like a Bioware hub world without the rest of the game attached. Part of that was down to the gameworld being a set of levels instead of a contiguous world, part of it was that so little ever seemed to change on Kirkwall’s streets despite lip service being repeatedly paid to the idea, and part of it was that the repeating environments in the other parts of the gameworld made Kirkwall feel more repetitive and claustrophobic than it was.

      • Solidstate89 says:

        They had one good character in Varic, who they’ve thankfully brought back for DA:III. Beyond that I wouldn’t recommend DA:2 on my worst enemies. All but one of the characters are utterly forgettable, and the sheer extent to which they cookie cuttered EVERY. FUCKING. DUNGEON is beyond lazy.

        • hjarg says:

          That!

          Basically, you get to be lazy already when you use the city through three episodes- the same areas and so on. Especially when you are so lazy that you don’t actually show any signs of city evolving through time. The crazy horned people gone from harbor, ok? Then let’s just leave the area empty and be done with it. No new buildings, no subtle changes showing that time is passed. Same people, same buildings, same everything… If they had bothered to make Kirkwall more alive, then the game would be much better.

          And on top of that, the cookie-cutting of dungeons. What do you mean every bloody dungeon looks the same? The only difference is that Bioware randomly makes doors unavailable, so it creates some variety. Plus, there is one type of townhouse and one type of noble townhouse. Again, some doors are just made unavailable… Come on, you get to be lazy for you are using Kirkwall through time anyway, and now you reuse more assets. That is just cheap. Beyond cheap.

          Plus, every fight you get enemies respawning out of nowhere. That is just “brilliant”.

          Story is nothing special, but everything else… phehh. :(

    • pizzapicante27 says:

      Agreed, the story is not the problem.
      The problem is that the combat is boring, the environments are boring, the mechanics are boring, its bug ridden to heaven, its repetitive, etc…
      Its one of the most boring RPG’s I’ve ever played, the worst sequel I’ve ever played (Origins is my favorite game of all times) it came out in the year that gave us Witcher 2, Skyrim, and Deus Ex, and definitelly the point where classic Bioware died.

      • inf says:

        You think that’s the point where “classic” Bioware died? Are you 15 years old? Because if so, your birthyear is about where Bioware died and stopped developing anything that could be labeled a CRPG without a compromise for simplification.

        • pizzapicante27 says:

          Ah I dont like the Baldurs Gate series, I tried I really did but when they sent me to that temple with the golems that are invulnerable to magic weapons I just said: “enough” and dropped the games.

          • fuggles says:

            What an odd reason to quit! You just get any non magical weapon from a shop and hit them – thought it was quite clever!

          • pizzapicante27 says:

            No, I mean thats the point I said “enough”:
            – The first game is disjointed the story, if you can call it that, barely registers and its easy to miss if you dont go through it the way the game intends, not that that’s obvious because the level design is confusing and often repetitive.
            – Combat suffers a lot, and I do mean A LOT from its D&D roots, and its not always consistent, some times you can disspel a barrier from an enemy, and sometimes you can’t because… I dont know, attack turns are not clear, understandable since it was the first game of its type but annoying anyways.

            BUT I said surelly the second one is better right? so I soldiered on, mistake:
            – If the first is disjointed the second one is unbalanced, I could solo pretty much everything after level 15 with my inquisitor paladin, that underwater city, I didnt need anyone to kill everyone in there… an entire city, and I wasnt max level.
            – Companions barely register, interactions are far in-between each other, apart from their quests I often forgot who I had with me, add to that the fact that you can pretty much solo the game at that point and they’re not all that memorable.

            FINE but surely the expansion is more focused? no.
            – Where the second is unbalanced and the first is disjointed, Throne is gimmicky, go there, kill that with this, return, go there do this boss fight, return, ugh, no variety, no flavor no nothing (up until the point I got fed up).

            BUT I could’ve lived with that, I’ve gone through far worse games (though far shorter admitedly, good god, are these games LONG), BUT the thing that REALLY annoyed me, the deal breaker for me was the pathfinding.

            I HATE the pathfinding, I just do, and no there’s nothing you can say to defend it, NOTHING, characters would get stuck, I’d have to go through half the dungeon to retrieve them, anything more than 3 chars was impossible to navigate, nevermind more, it was just impossible.

            So there that is why I dont like BG, not that its a bad game by any means, its quite good, but I’d rather eat my pinky fingers than waste my personal time with the series again.

          • Jane Doe says:

            There is exactly one–ONE–spot in the entire GIGANTIC game in which you face magic golems. Watcher’s Keep is littered with warnings about them (Elminster’s Almanach or something) and in front of the golems are containers with non-magical weapons.

            Seriously. How did you even get that far!?

        • Kitsunin says:

          Fucking Bioware died the moment they decided not to make a sequel to Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood.

      • mavrik says:

        I would have said the same to you… but compared to Inquisition, DA2 is fulled with this happening!

      • JamesTheNumberless says:

        I wouldn’t say that, the first Mass Effect is better than the first Baldur’s Gate and Knights of the Old Republic is their best game ever. Neither of those are 15 years old. They didn’t die the moment EA stepped in. Dragon Age: Origins was still a very good game, although the cracks were beginning to show at that point. I think Mass Effect II is probably the point at which I started to lament the death of Bioware. Still, nevermind eh? We have Obsidian and inXile now, we’ve never been so spoiled.

    • Stillquest says:

      I believe the “not epic enough” complaint derives in large part from what people expect from sequels – namely that they should be bigger and bolder.

      To be fair, a lot of people liked DAO exactly because it was a classic, grandiose, save-the-world fantasy game – and a welcome return to the style of the earlier, PC based Bioware titles. They obviously expected DAII to continue in the same vein. Being presented with the much more intimate scale of the sequel, coupled with its bad case of consolitis and infamous budget-driven corner-cutting… Well, it’s little wonder they felt that this wasn’t the game they were waiting for.

      • pizzapicante27 says:

        No, nobody really complains about the story, they complain that the game is boring as hell.

        • StarkeRealm says:

          I’ve seen a lot of complaints over the years from people about the story. I’m not inclined to call them legitimate complaints, but, they are out there, and very vocal.

          There’s a sizable chunk of the fanbase who actively hate Hawke because of the story.

          • pizzapicante27 says:

            The only people I’ve seen saying that are people defending the game, ALL of the people I’ve seen complain about the same things I do, combat is boring, areas are boring, and the game is generally a slog.
            Though if you want to complain about the story, I’d have to say Varric and Aveline are the only worthy things about it, I gladly killed most of my companions on the final chapter, and I have to say I did it with glee.

    • noodlecake says:

      I agree 100%. I actually enjoyed this far more than Origins or 3, just because the story broke convention a lot more. Origins was incredibly vanilla in terms of plot, even though the combat of origins was deep and pretty enjoyable and the other two had abysmal combat.

      • mouton says:

        Yeah, DAO had cool elements, like characters, segments. But the whole story? Quite boring, with one of the most boring arch-enemies ever. Even the darkspawn it led were more interesting/horrifying, thanks to the Deep Roads segment.

    • Jovian09 says:

      I liked Dragon Age II. I liked its characters (well, most of them), I liked its mechanics, I liked that it was a departure from its genre’s tropes. But I did not like Kirkwall. Sure, the idea is great, but the city is so bland, empty, unchanging and seedy that it was very difficult to care about what happened to it, or feel invested when it inevitably went tits-up.

    • Zendou says:

      I agree, I loved the story and even the gameplay. The repetitious use of the same dungeon layouts was disappointing but I’ve played through DA2 many, many times as well as DA:O. Unfortunately, DA:I was a bit bland for me. It didn’t give me the same interest and need to play that the first two did. I don’t know if it was the story or the constant stopping to collect resources, but I barely finished it a couple of months ago and I can’t play it for more than 30-45 min without getting bored.

    • PoulWrist says:

      “But it’s a game with a great high concept that it doesn’t get enough credit for.”

      This. A flawed game, but with an idea I would love to see done again, with more things to back it up.

  2. Iajawl says:

    Nice article. Interesting points.

  3. TheAngriestHobo says:

    I have to agree; I always liked the idea behind the setting of DA2. I’ve always liked the concept of a game set in a confined but living space (Consortium did this well), and while DA2’s execution didn’t quite live up to its ambition, I have to give them credit for trying to shake up the fantasy RPG formula.

    Also, it had Merrill, the single most amusing party member since Jan Jansen.

    link to youtu.be

    • ThomasHL says:

      I played DA2 in German, so I’d never realised just how Welsh her accent is =D

  4. jasta85 says:

    I’ll say that dragon age II wasn’t a bad game, it was a decent game. The problem is that after playing so many awesome Bioware games: KOTR, Jade Empire, Dragon Age 1 and all its DLC (the only game ever where I actually got all the DLC), Mass Effect I and II, it was a huge drop in quality. I think that was when they really moved away from their older style of making RPG’s. I honestly wasn’t a huge fan of Dragon Age Inquisition either (it was better than Dragon Age II but still not as good as Origins). The open world felt like an MMO world, huge but stuffed with a bunch of fetch quests and kill X amount of goats quests. Only the main story missions really contributed to the overall world, most of the other content was just filler.

    Bioware has become such a big name they’ve had to change their style to be more mass market friendly. Fortunately, as an old school RPG lover there plenty still being made so I’m not to sour.

    • Premium User Badge

      Carra says:

      It was a good game which I enjoyed. But it didn’t live up to its predecessor. Enjoyable but I just expect more from Bioware.

  5. Infinitron says:

    Dragon Age 2’s real problem wasn’t the reused environments. That’s just one of those low-hanging fruit, low-brow criticisms that lots of controversial games get saddled that end up masking their deeper problems. Kind of like Deus Ex: Human Revolution’s boss fights.

    Its problem was the re-used gameplay loop. Three acts where you do basically the same thing, over and over. Giving every one of those pointless little combat areas a unique map wouldn’t have changed that.

    • pizzapicante27 says:

      Combat is really bad and boring, no real strategy involved beyond spamming area-of-effect attacks, if they were going for that they should’ve gone all the way for an action-RPG not leave the half-baked system that resulted.

  6. Werthead says:

    Dragon Age II was a game that EA hamstrung from the very start. Aghast at the length of time and thus money BioWare had spent developing DA:O (over five years), they demanded both DA:O’s release on consoles and also a quickie sequel on a very limited budget to help recoup that loss. A few people who worked on DA:O were so annoyed by that decision that they quit.

    With that in mind, what BioWare achieved with DAII was pretty impressive. They had a solid (and a much more focused) story, some very interesting characters and some excellent worldbuilding compared to the first game. Unfortunately they had very limited time for creating assets, hence the constant reuse of the same caves, houses and the constantly reinforcing waves of enemies, not to mention the undercooked ending. It stifled what could have otherwise been a very interesting game.

    Having not particularly enjoyed vast swathes of DA:O and having found DAII to be hugely repetitive, I have no plans to pick up DA:I until it’s on a big discount. In fact, I think the Awakening DLC for the first game is the most enjoyable part of the franchise so far.

    • Relnor says:

      DA:I is a bloated mess – huge, ‘open world’ areas with dozens upon dozens of fights to be had, so-so characters imo – or at least no one new stood out as very memorable to me.

      There are just so many little things to do, so many MMORPG-ish side quests (or even quite literal MMO quests such as “Bring me 10 wolf pelts” – yes, this is actually in DA:I ), it feels like one of Ubisoft’s games.

      I’m not even going to compare it to Witcher 3 since I feel that would be hilariously unfair – just comparing it to Divinity Original Sin, a game that is far more linear but manages to keep combat not only more interesting but also a bit RARER – just makes DA:I feel.. lacking.

      • StarkeRealm says:

        The MMO feeling isn’t helped when you realize they actually took people off of TOR to help develop some of the content (and, I think the entirety of one of the DLCs).

        I’ll keep saying, DAI felt like the launch state for an MMO, with an incomplete story designed to keep you on the hook with your sub fees for the next 5 years while they dribble out the rest of the plot.

      • ThomasHL says:

        I think the characters in DA:I are some of the best Bioware has ever created. Cassandra is the first straight light-sided female character Bioware have ever created who was actually interesting, and Cullen was almost the same for male (although a little less straight). Iron Bull’s charisma was great, it was the first game that felt like it really acknowledged class as forming a part in characters with Blackwell and Sera.

        Josephine was cute and Cole’s constant movie spoilers was one of the most fun things Bioware have done in a long time :P

        ———–

        I think the world felt dead and inert, and the MMO structure stretched the plot to the point where you couldn’t engage with it and didn’t connect with the characters, but the actual characters themselves were really rich.

      • Disgruntled Goat says:

        Witcher 3 is just as repetitive as DA:I, if not more so. Killing the dozens of identical monster nests/bandit camps/guarded treasures is the exact same concept as “bring me 10 wolf pelts”, except they don’t take up a slot in your quest journal.

  7. Discosauce says:

    Similarly avoiding mention of the obvious problems it had, I really remember DA2 for its characters. I really enjoyed most of them.

  8. Premium User Badge

    basilisk says:

    I tried, I honestly tried, because the single city concept sounds so great on paper. But I felt like the game consisted of 90% filler and 10% content. Endless padding, repetition and boredom. Pity.

  9. Chinacula says:

    Dragon Age 2 was like the Perfect Storm of every single thing that I personally dislike about games. They took the gritty look of Origins and turned it to a more anime style of combat. The elves now had Northern Irish accents. Enemies that literally dropped from the skies when you thought combat was over. I could go on and on. I realize some people liked it, but after loving Origins so much it was like a sucker punch to the stomach– a visceral dislike that remains after years. It has taken me this long to appreciate the only two things I have any regard for from the game– Cassandra and Varric, who were quite enjoyable in Dragon Age: Inquisition.

    • HamsterExAstris says:

      The elves are Welsh, not Irish. (Which makes life easy for the casting directors, they can just work their way through the cast of Torchwood. ;))

      • Chinacula says:

        In DA3 there are some “Welsh” elves. Go back and check DA2 and the first clan you meet– that’s pure Belfast.

        • HamsterExAstris says:

          Hmm. I was mainly thinking of Merill when I said that. I could be wrong where the other elves are concerned, now that you mention it.

    • pizzapicante27 says:

      I also have DAO as one of my favorite games of all times, and I would add that Avelline also belonged to a better game. For me this is the point Dragon Age turned from the most promising game universe for me, into an EA’s RPG of the Year placeholder

  10. vorador says:

    Urgh. Yes, i did play it.

    And no, i didn’t like it much. Not only because to cater to the console crowd they had to dumb down the gameplay and adapt it for easy gamepad use, but also because it felt…disjointed.

    The set pieces of a supposedly huge city where rather small, and they didn’t felt like part of the same place, they felt like pieces of a set. Like you were interpreting a play about the Champion of Kirkwall, instead of the real thing.

    Also, it didn’t help that nobody aged after the timeskips. They looked the same from the beginning to the end.

    I don’t know, it might be just me.

  11. Big Murray says:

    Now the internet’s boiling “DA2 SUCKS ASS” blood has dissipated, it’s nice to be able to say “there were a lot of things I enjoyed about Dragon Age 2” without it starting a massive internet flame war. The characters, for one, were extremely memorable. And I very much appreciated the attempt to bring back one of their old-school methods of plot-driving by returning to the “you need to raise money for X, go out and make it happen however you want” device which we haven’t seen in a Bioware RPG since Baldur’s Gate II.

    Overall, it was average. That’s ok. Our standards for Bioware are just so high, an average game for them is the same as a sucky one for everyone else.

    • slavasesh says:

      It does really suck, and I’ve not got high standards for bioware… they haven’t made anything really GREAT since KOTOR.

      • TheAngriestHobo says:

        Or maybe, just maybe, these things are subjective? Personally, I never understood the hype behind the entire KOTOR series. There wasn’t a single character in it that I found compelling, and the storyline was an inconsequential footnote in the established canon. Unless you’re a die-hard Star Wars fan, I don’t see how you can regard KOTOR as EA’s crowning achievement – but that’s just me.

        • pizzapicante27 says:

          Yep thats just you, also EA hadn’t bought Bioware when KOTOR came out.

          • TheAngriestHobo says:

            Thanks for making my point.

          • ansionnach says:

            I’d say DA2 is quite a bit better than KotOR (and I’m not saying that DA2 is stellar). Played them back-to-back. KotOR is the worst Bioware RPG I’ve played… so unless Jade Empire or Inquisition is worse, then it gets the “prize”. No strategy in battles and generic everything wrapped in a Star Wars skin. I’d go as far to say that KotOR isn’t much better than the vanilla NWN campaign… but at least it had decent strategic combat and was great fun in co-op – so I’d rate that much higher. As for the characters, the killer robot was amusing but pretty useless, Mission was okay and Jolee had the right attitude… but the others were all variously annoying, especially what’s-her-face. The best bit in the game was where it actually let you finish off that dark jedi that otherwise joins your party. She must have killed me about forty times… and then tried to sell me a sob story when she lost. Combat’s so awful that on hard the only real way to beat her was run around a field with her chasing you while the others used ranged weapons. Controls are so awful that this is a lot more painful than it should be… so the absolute best “strategy” is probably to have loads of shields. I originally played KotOR around release and it was so terrible that I didn’t complete it. After persevering more recently and going onto KotOR2, I’d strongly recommend skipping the first one and only playing the second one if you liked Torment and don’t mind playing only for the story.

          • Jenks says:

            “I’d say DA2 is quite a bit better than KotOR”

            Holy crap

    • pizzapicante27 says:

      DA2 sucks ass so incredibly Im surprised the game just doesnt collapse into a black hole upon clicking the executable.

    • Chinacula says:

      It has been more than five years, and I find that my “boiling DA2 sucks a** blood” has not in fact disappated.

  12. Risingson says:

    Not yet but I will do. As soon as I end, at last, the very grindy, boring, preachy and so freaky in human interactions Dragon Age 1, a game I began loving and now I kind of hate. I know I will have to stay away, very far, from DA3 anyway.

    • Risingson says:

      To be honest, my problems with da are these:

      – Combat, most of the times unjustified and most of the time taking you away from the game atmosphere to make you really aware of the grindy mechanics, extremely reiterative themselves. Combat music became as annoying as any Final Fantasy one.

      – Romance and team interactions. The character, you, are rewarded for being condescent, manipulative and a bit of a son of a b*t*h. Same as it happened in most parts of Mass Effect. Character development should not mean being a kind of machiavelian psycho that gets combat rewards for having sex with your team. It is childish, it is immature, and it is sold as the path to follow (!) for other videogame designers.

      – i don’t feel comfortable with the races stereotyping.

      – and as it happens with the Mass Effect games, the way it talks about enemies, wars and so on… No, really. No.

      • TheAngriestHobo says:

        It sounds like your problems with the game are mostly political. You believe realpolitik is bad, so you don’t think players should be rewarded for playing that way. You have strong PC values, so you don’t like being confronted with incidents of racism in the games you play. You feel that war is barbaric and outdated, so you object to the fact that there are some hawks in Kirkwall. In short, you’re an idealist, and want to see your values being portrayed as the correct ones.

        But here’s the thing: no one enjoys being preached to, and certainly not while they’re trying to relax with a video game. That’s why most talented writers present the player with nuanced characters and situations. It allows for controversial subject matter to be explored from multiple angles without casting judgement on any of them. It’s the difference between art and propaganda.

        • pizzapicante27 says:

          i.chzbgr.com/full/1881653504/h16B91C6E/

          • TheAngriestHobo says:

            When the only response someone can muster is a sad attempt to insult through a .jpg, I take that as a pretty clear indication that I’ve won the debate.

          • pizzapicante27 says:

            It might also show that your text-wall response didn’t really deserve a proper response to show how lacking it was.
            It might also show a lack of interest in your argument.
            Or an impulse to make fun of your rather lacking opinion.
            Or it might show a reading comprehension problem equal or greater than the one you showed in your previous response.

            But dont worry we live in an age where people with your…comprehension abilities are able to live normal and fulfilling lives.

        • pizzapicante27 says:

          He… didnt say any of that… do you have some kind of reading impediment? or thats just how people are where you live?

        • mouton says:

          I don’t even agree with the fellow you are replying to, but I have no idea how did you get such sweeping and personal judgements about them from that post.

          • pizzapicante27 says:

            I get cranky when something reminds of DA2

          • pizzapicante27 says:

            And his comment was pretty stupid, so one thing led to another, Im not proud but I dont think Im wrong.

          • mouton says:

            Sorry, was talking to TheAngriestHobo answering to Risingson.

            Love the commenting system, yeah

      • emge28 says:

        I agree, especially about the combat. I don’t understand how people complain about enemies that spawn out of nowhere (preferably in your back) and enemy waves in DA2, but don’t seem to mind that exact same annoying mechanic in DA1.

        The character interaction was kind of random, relying on systems that are never explained – basically, you have to read a walkthrough in order to know what to do (“hardening”).

        And I think romancing in games stupid anyway: Falling in love or making someone fall in love cannot be translated into a gameplay mechanic – and gameplay systems that try to do this are ridiculous as a result of this. Bioware is especially guilty of that.

        And I didn’t like the preachiness either, or, by the way, the story.

        However, some of the characters I found quite well fleshed out (for a game) and feel very “real” (both in DA:O and in DA2). Pity most everything else is so bad.

        • Jerykk says:

          Most of the enemies in DAO did not spawn out of thin air. They were placed in the level and stayed there until you encountered them. Scouting was pretty worthless in DA2 because your cloaked rogue would sneak forward, hit an invisible trigger, then waves of enemies would spawn and attack the rest of your party even though they had never even made contact.

          The wave-based spawns also undermined player strategy, since you really had no idea how many enemies you’d be fighting, what their composition would be or where they’d spawn from. This was exacerbated on Nightmare difficulty, where enemies actually posed a threat and combat became a tedious grind because you ended up playing super defensively due to how potions worked (they had cooldowns and you only had a small amount per combat encounter).

          • malkav11 says:

            Also, fights in Origins were fixed in scope and duration. You saw what you were going to fight most of the time, but even if you didn’t, you didn’t get another two waves dropped in the middle of your group midway through.

          • emge28 says:

            Alright, you might be right it’s been some time since I played DA:O. However, in the Deep Roads and some other combat-heavy areas it certainly FELT for me like there were endless enemies spawning. I just found the combat very tedious and repetitive. And I liked Baldur’s Gate 2, not sure I would still enjoy it playing these days, though.

    • Iajawl says:

      You might have more fun playing Baldurs Gate 2 rather than Dragon Age 2.

      • mouton says:

        That’s no contest, Baldur’s Gate 2 is Bioware’s opus magnum. It had its own set of flaws but holy shit was it grand, varied and interesting.

  13. lowprices says:

    Y’know, for all it’s problems (which were many and varied), I think I prefer DA2 to DA:O. DA:O, for all that I enjoyed it, still felt very by-the-numbers to me. If Bioware (or another developer) were to try this sort of thing again with a more suitable budget and development time, I would be on board immediately.

  14. slavasesh says:

    The author starts out by saying that they don’t want to talk about any of the game’s many, many faults and flaws . . . but that he also wants to talk about the game. Typical RPS BS, let’s see how long it takes them to delete yet ANOTHER of my comments.

    • Iajawl says:

      hahahahahahahaha. Your reading comprehension skills. Work on them.

      • slavasesh says:

        how about you work on yours after reading this again?

        “I don’t want to talk about reused environments or mages running rampant or plot holes or spawning enemies or… I don’t care. I want to talk about Kirkwall, more specifically how I really like Dragon Age II”

        Go back to bed.

        • Alice O'Connor says:

          You missed the second half of that sentence: “I really like Dragon Age II following up on another tedious ‘roam the world saving it from ancient evil’ fantasy gufffest to focus on one city over a few years.”

          • slavasesh says:

            I may have missed it when I quoted it, but I don’t see how it changes the fact that you do in fact state that you want to talk about a tiny aspect of a game, whilst ignoring anything negative about it, and using that viewpoint to act as though it is superior to other games of its ilk. I fail to see how that’s productive in any way, and at worst it is a bold-faced lie.

          • pizzapicante27 says:

            I have to agree, you accept the terrible aspects of the game but gloss over them in favor of pointing the interesting bits (note that “interesting” doesn’t equal “fun”), to make a pretty bad game seem interesting and fresh.
            How is it different from the “RPG of the decade” review PCGamer ran when the game came out?

          • Kitsunin says:

            Not this again…DA2 is a good game. Most people who have played it, enjoyed it, though vocal minorities might make this appear false. It is worth pointing out what is interesting and yes, fun (because it’s a good game) so those who find those aspects particularly interesting might consider giving it a shot. Yes, even while ignoring other aspects because hey, this isn’t a review.

          • pizzapicante27 says:

            Based on the facts that it sold roughly half of what the original sold, that user scores tend to go on the negative side of things, that most attempts to highlight the game end like… well like this accross a broad spectrum of sites, and my own personal experience, I’d say its not really a “minority”.

            Also this is an opiniated article meant to draw attention to a game, unlike a review but with a similar porpouse so my question is still a valid one.

          • Kitsunin says:

            Few people will argue that DA2 isn’t worse than DA:O. Doesn’t mean it’s not a good game.

            Likewise, user scores are a terrible way of telling whether a game is good. The vast majority of games which are merely disappointing given their context, one would think were godawful atrocities if you trusted user ratings, which are filled with “Decent, but not as good as the last one, 1/10” and review-bombing.

            There’s a reason most professionals were still quite fond of DA2 (with a few even liking it more than DA:O, interestingly enough).

          • Kitsunin says:

            Or perhaps you think Mass Effect 3 is only marginally better than DA2? Because even as one who thinks DA2 is reasonably good, that sounds ridiculous. And that’s what user reviews would make you think.

          • pizzapicante27 says:

            I didnt say I used user reviews to know if its bad (it is, thats not up for discussion).
            I said that given the factors I cited the people that trash DA2 are more than certainly NOT a “minority” as the previous poster wrote.

          • Kitsunin says:

            And yet your points can easily be explained by a vocal minority. There is a reason the vast majority of reviewers–people who actually have a reason to have a nuanced view of things, thought it was great. You’ve failed to bring any point to the table which couldn’t be explained by a vocal minority.

            But then “that’s not up for discussion” pretty much makes my point for me.

        • Relnor says:

          Why is it such a crime to discuss about the good/noteable parts of an otherwise deeply flawed game ? Especially many years after it’s launch ?

          The bad things have been discussed at launch. Then they’ve been discussed some more, and more, and then some more again. We’ve all heard about what is wrong with DA2.

          Sounds to me like you have an agenda with RPS itself rather than anything productive to say on the topic.

          And to the other bloke asking about the difference between this and a PG Gamer review: You’d think the answer would be pretty obvious: This is a piece written 4+ years after the game’s launch while the PC Gamer review was written on launch and could potentially mislead people into a (possibly bad? ) sale.

          Why do people feel such a deep need to be “right” about everything and put others down ?

    • pizzapicante27 says:

      Agreed so many errors in the text: “reused environments show the clearly the game was tight on development time and budget. It squanders the potential of the city and its history, but that’s big-budget video games for you. ”

      So, which is it? it was tight on budget or it had a big budget?

      • slavasesh says:

        I’ve made posts like this before and RPS always takes them down. They don’t like it when you call them out on their own circular logic. Last time it was on an article where they complained that there wasn’t enough DLC for GTA:V Online, and then complained about how there was too much DLC and that they didn’t like it.

        I don’t have any more confidence in these guys at all.

        • pepperfez says:

          Or maybe it’s that

          [W]e will not tolerate spitefulness or rudeness.

          • slavasesh says:

            I don’t feel like raising questions when continually bombarded by flawed logic and haphazard writing (from a paid author) is rude or spiteful, actually. What’s rude – in my opinion – is that RPS seems to make little effort with these articles, yet puts them on Steam’s community hubs, without thinking anyone will notice.

        • Premium User Badge

          Aerothorn says:

          So if you think this is “typical RPS BS” and “have no confidence in these guys in these guys at all”… why are you here? It sounds like you have no good reasons for reading these articles – and by extension, commenting on them. Which makes it look like you’re just trolling.

          • slavasesh says:

            Read my previous reply – I am here because RPS puts this in MY face, on Steam. If they weren’t so proud of pushing bad writing, I wouldn’t even know they exist, and wouldn’t be here at all.

          • Llewyn says:

            Always funny to watch weak trolls try to justify their existence. It’s almost as though the only person he’s succeeding in trolling is himself.

          • Premium User Badge

            Aerothorn says:

            Actually, Valve puts them in “your face” on Steam. If you find this so upsetting, and believe that venting on forums is a good use of your time, I recommend the Steam forum.

          • ffordesoon says:

            @slavasesh:

            You, uh, you know the Steam thing is just an RSS reader, right? And that you can edit it to only show sites you enjoy? Like, that takes literally five seconds. If you never want to come back here, take RPS off the list of sites it grabs articles from. Problem solved.

            I suspect you’ll keep reading, though.

      • Alice O'Connor says:

        It’s both: it seemingly had a smaller budget than Origins, but still would have cost more than most video games.

        • pizzapicante27 says:

          Well I was pointing out the grammatical mistakes: “show the clearly the game”
          But the big-budget bit is also terribly written.

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      Yes, I want to talk about one specific aspect of Dragon Age II. I don’t find DA2’s faults interesting to talk about, and I clearly state that it has many, but I am interested in the single-city idea – especially after such a roaming epic. I don’t understand how that’s a problem.

      • pizzapicante27 says:

        An interesting idea doesn’t necessarily make for a good execution or a fun game, as is clearly evidenced by DA2.

      • Premium User Badge

        Aerothorn says:

        It’s not a problem.

        People seem to be interpreting the “Have You Played?” column as “THESE ARE THE BEST GAMES EVER MADE” when that is clearly not its purpose – it’s “here’s something interesting!” And you make it clear why it’s interesting. And if a bunch of people don’t like Dragon Age II, that’s really neither here nor there.

        • pizzapicante27 says:

          Ah okay yeah, I see now upon re-reading the article you’re right, sorry, since normally the Have you Played section usually contains interesting and/or fun games I often confuse it with a recommendations section instead of a dumping ground for poorly executed ideas.

          I do have to agree to most of this article, I would like to see more smaller more focused RPG’s like the ones Spiders make, and I do agree with the author that : “Dragon Age II has a whole load of other problems I find too boring to get into”… and she’s missing an “and” or a “.” in that sentence.

  15. emge28 says:

    I played Dragon Age 1 and 2 some time ago and I am more puzzled by the veneration Dragon Age 1 gets than the contempt Dragon Age 2 received. In my opinion, both are lousy games, some character bits being the only redeeming qualities. However, I found Dragon Age 2 to be slightly less abysmal.

    • pizzapicante27 says:

      Well everyone has a right to their own opinion…
      but you’re wrong.

    • slavasesh says:

      I agree, though I think I have a good idea why this happens…

      Like Bethesda, Bioware has a devoted legion of fanboys ( like the author of this article ) who will do anything to raise the level of esteem at which the general gaming public holds their favorite developer. These people do not care how good or bad a game is, they’re just happy to see the familiar logos they’ve come to love.

      • PsychoWedge says:

        I guess it’s like the legion of hatebois of whatever tickles your fancy (for example gaming sites), who do not care how good or bad an article is or in which direction it’s topic is intended, they’re just happy to see their bile all over the familiar layout they’ve come to pester?

        • pizzapicante27 says:

          But the direction is clear, is it not? the author points out to the interesting bits of the game…that dont work, to recommend a game that she accepts is boring…hu.

          • PsychoWedge says:

            So? You never listened repeatedly to a song that you actually don’t like at all just because there are these great 15 seconds of a guitar squeezed through a wah-wah? If not then you probably have no mindset for this kind of recommendation but if you have then you might completely understand the point of this article or/and where it’s coming from.

            I can go on and on about Star Wars: Rebellion and how much I like a couple of things in there which make me play it while at the same time totally point out all the horrible flaws in it. Even in the parts I like. And I still recommend it for what it is.

            I don’t see the problem here, to be honest. Except, that it comes down to Bioware hatebois who just can’t deal with the fact that somebody likes something of a comany they so despise or that somebody reads articles and has similiar opinions to some of them on a website they so despise. ^^

    • mouton says:

      Same thing with Mass Effect. Much of the hatred towards ME2 or ME3 was backed by contrasting it to ME1. Sadly, they usually forget ME1 was just as flawed more often than not. Example: plot made no sense in any of the parts.

      Welp, internet discussion.

      • Coming Second says:

        ME1 and ME2 were great as self-contained games. If that’s all they were, there wouldn’t have been many complaints. However, Bioware sold it as an overarching trilogy in which your choices were crucial, and arrived at ME3 in the situation of trying to tie together a story with no middle, in a limited time frame, whilst also producing the multiplayer EA were demanding. Inevitably, as a whole it turned out to be a disappointing mess made all the more frustrating by the odd flashes of promise and brilliant execution it contains.

    • Werthead says:

      Dragon Age: Origins has a horrendous list of problems. It’s way too long, with that extra length made up of tedious fetch-quests and generic battles you need to do to level up to face the later game content. The game gives you a ton of supporting characters, but only Morrigan and Alistair play any significant role in the plot itself. The game has a huge amount of lore, but almost all of it is locked away in the codex and relatively little of it comes out in the gameplay.

      The combat is pretty terrible, as well. You don’t get waves of enemies materialising out of thin air, but if you start a fight and it draws in nearby enemies you can’t form chokepoints to hold them off, as they simply barge or clip past you. The classic “Hold the line” tactics from the likes of Baldur’s Gate, with ranged and magic characters behind and hefty fighters in front, don’t work. Tactics generally are useless. Not as useless as in DA2, but still pretty poor. The darkspawn are also a generically uninteresting threat and the subplots about the political infighting within each faction are dull. Also, the end of game battle is extremely underwhelming and the graphics were only ever okay.

      Where the game does come to life is some good writing, some amusing side-characters (Shale) and a general level of professional polish, not to mention that Aftermaths was a pretty damn good expansion.

      But when I see people rating DA:O as the best RPG of all time or even massively better than its sequels, it’s genuinely odd. Compared to the BG games or Morrowind or now Divinity: Original Sin or Pillars of Eternity (even if the latter has also been more than a bit overhyped), it’s only ever okay.

  16. Greg Wild says:

    Even if the execution was flawed, I think DA2 was Bioware’s last genuinely interesting game.

  17. pizzapicante27 says:

    “and see them change over time.”
    “I enjoyed seeing the city and people I knew develop.”

    When did you see them develop? apart from Avelline and Varric, the rest of the cast might as well have spent a month or so in the city, and when did the city change, apart from that one statue, the same fucking beggars I saw in year one, where the same beggars in the same positions I saw on year 3.

    • bleeters says:

      My favourite was the guy outside the viscounts office, complaining that he’s been waiting all day to get in. I seem to remember him being there the entire game.

  18. tomimt says:

    I will always prefer DA2 over the firts DA. I like how it actually tries to tell a much more smaller scale story instead of your average (and first DA wasn’t even that) run in the mill “safe the world you chosen one you”.

    It’s far from perfect game, but I do think it does manage to do what it aims to do.

  19. namad says:

    you should be ashamed of yourself

  20. Talahar says:

    As someone who prefers to play archers as their main character, I’ve enjoyed DA2 way more than DA:O. Origins’ archery was not very good. It wasn’t very fun, it was way too far away from the action, it pretty much felt like an afterthought. DA2 had none of this. To me it felt like I did something awesome with every action I took.
    O and 2 are very different games, in almost every aspect, though. While I appreciate the epicness of O, personally, I prefer 2 much more, for various reasons. I like the city. I like the aspect of family. I like the companions more. I like that it’s not a save-the-world plot for once. And the aforementioned archery. Basically I like 2 for all the things that aren’t mentioned in the usual “this is why DA2 sucked” lists.
    Oh well, different folks, different strokes. Haven’t played inquisition yet. Need a new computer for that. *shrug*

  21. liquidsoap89 says:

    The faults with DA2 are all perfectly valid things to fault it with, but I still think I might actually prefer DA2 over it’s predecessor. If Bioware had pushed some of their ideas just a little bit further I think this would have been a much better received game. I absolutely loved the parts where Varric was telling Cassandra the story, and in particular the part where he makes up the story about getting revenge against his brother, before you go back and play that part properly. I really wish they had done more like this, with the narrating effecting the gameplay in different ways.

    But fuck that 1 on 1 fight against the Qunari warlord guy. That was the point where I had to install a combat mod to trivialize all the combat because as a tank I literally could not kill him on my own. So yeah, DA2… Broken, but special.

  22. slavasesh says:

    The way I’ve been attacked here only serves to prove my point: Bioware has fanboys that will attempt to portray these games as the greatest rpgs ever. It’s senseless to attempt to reason with them.

    • Premium User Badge

      Aerothorn says:

      I don’t like Bioware games at all. This has nothing to do with how terrible your contributions have been to this discussion.

    • ffordesoon says:

      I don’t like your comments, but it has nothing to do with being a Bioware fan. I like some of their games more than others, and ultimately didn’t enjoy DA2 very much at all. The reason I don’t like your comments is because you’re being a snide jerk, and worse, because you apparently don’t understand that you’re being a snide jerk.

    • liquidsoap89 says:

      Then stop trying to reason with them.

    • Premium User Badge

      zapatapon says:

      I’ve never played any of the DA games and don’t give a damn in general about BioWare.
      I read this article because I like to hear unusual takes on games and interesting exchange of ideas.
      Concerning the latter, I find your comments deeply annoying, full of pointless bile and your smug attitude abhorrent.

  23. pepperfez says:

    This is an astonishingly toxic comment section for such a mild article.

    • Dunbine says:

      Yeah, but about 50 percent of the comments are from three or four people.

    • Stillquest says:

      A testament to how much hate DA2 generated back in the day. It’s been 4-5 years since it was released, yet mentioning it is still a surefire way to generate a flame war.

  24. Wulfram says:

    Dragon Age 2 is a pretty good illustration of why downscaling and time skips and so forth don’t really work very well, at least for the sort of RPG that Dragon Age is.

    The story didn’t fit the level of violence inherent in the main gameplay system being combat – an issue exacerbated by the decision to up the number of weak enemies in DA2. There was no compelling reason provided for why your character should stay in Crapsack City or care over much what happened to it. The timeskips were essentially nominal – the game could have taken place over a few months and made more sense. Being stuck in Crapsack City meant you didn’t get to go to cool places as you advanced through the game – this isn’t an issue of re-used areas, because even if you had more areas you’d still be stuck in Crapsack City. The lack of the big world threatening plot just basically leaves it without a main plot.

    I mean, the game is still pretty worth playing at the prices you can buy it for, but it’s not for the “interesting” bits. Mostly it’s just got the standard Bioware virtues of engaging companions and good voice acting, and the lack of a main plot doesn’t stop some of the side plots from being worthwhile. The combat mechanics are actually pretty solid if hurt by bad encounter design.

    • Stillquest says:

      The mistake, I believe, was in marketing DA2 as a full sequel to DAO rather than as a side-story. A “tedious ‘roam the world saving it from ancient evil’ fantasy gufffest” DAO may have been, but that’s what the people that played and loved it wanted and expected. The fact that the time-skip element wasn’t actually that very well done certainly didn’t help matters.

      Must agree with you on DA2’s combat – I was initially put off by the vastly increased pace and somewhat arcady feeling, but the moment I ramped the difficulty to “nightmare”, which incidentally enables friendly fire – it became every bit as tactical as DAO’s. More importantly, it’s much, much harder to break the enemy combat AI. Combat in Origin, while fun, devolved rather quickly to a few rote tricks that could take care of most everything. Not anymore. Gone were the days of “Open door, Earthquake + Lighting Storm + Fire Storm, close door, wait, collect treasure”.

  25. PsychoWedge says:

    Maybe it’s a European or even German thing but I also never really read any outright hatred towards the scale of the story. I wouldn’t even say it has been the main point of any critical reviews. That was always the area design, the characters, the combat system and encounter design, the bugs, the repetitivness of actually playing the game and so forth.

  26. malkav11 says:

    It’s definitely an interesting premise, and I feel like Bioware did their usual overreaction to criticisms of the game (which mostly aren’t about that aspect, far as I can see) when they then made Inquisition the Most Epic Bioware Game Evar 1!!!11211111! and bloated it far beyond their skillset.

  27. jonahcutter says:

    Well apparently, if nothing else, Dragon Age retains its ability to incite passionate response.

    Stay strong Alice, stay strong.

    • Premium User Badge

      teije says:

      You got that right! Who could imagine a wee little article that dared to point out something the author enjoyed about a game could enrage a couple people so much?

      Let it go.

    • Martel says:

      At least from 2 very angry people :)

  28. emptee says:

    Seems like this segment is scraping the bottom of the barrel.
    Yes I did play DA2. And then after I played through the same battle the same city and the same dungeon for 3-4 hours I stopped. And I never came back. It’s not a bad game but it’s not memorable in any way, 6/10, barely above average.

  29. hemmer says:

    Actually my favourite Dragon Age game, the others are just very tedious mechanically and I never cared for the characters as much as I did for my DA2 companions.

    But I was mostly just happy to have combat not be crappy.

    • Booker says:

      Almost the same here. The dynamics between Isabela and Aveline alone make this game worth playing. The funniest exchanges ever written for/in a BioWare game. Loved these elements. Inquisition has none of this fire and feels soulless in comparison.

  30. DrMcCoy says:

    The time jumping in Dragon Age II felt very amateurish and flat to me, a squandered opportunity. You never really felt the change. Grim Fandango did this way better.

    The thing that made me stop playing however was the buggy DA:O save importer. It’s really disappointing seeing the game blatently invalidating all my DA:O choices despite claiming to honor them.

    To be clear, I don’t hate Dragon Age II. I just think it never reached any of the goals it set for itself.

  31. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    Garbage game and a real low point for the fantasy CRPG genre.

    Thank god for Bethesda, CD Projekt and the crowdfunding revolution pulling things together after a titan like Bioware stumbled so terribly.

  32. Horg says:

    Never have I been more glad that a game had a demo. I suppose that’s why publishers don’t put out demos any more though : |

    • Booker says:

      I think the demo was a huge reason why DAII had such a bad rep right away. So it definitely was a mistake to release it.
      It was a bad representation of the final game though. If they would have done no demo or a better one, DAII might have been received much better.

  33. Already Gone says:

    Good lord, what an open sewer this comments thread is.

    DA2 would be my favorite Dragon Age, if it had modding support. In my opinion, the Dragon Age franchise is defined by pausable real-time D&D-by-way-MMO combat and inter-party banter, and DA2 was the series peak of each of those: the combat was faster and sexier than DA:O or DA:I, and the banter was more frequent and more central to the game than in DA:O or DA:I.

    I actually really like a lot of the Dragon Age franchise’s worldbuilding — when the Inquisitor goes bodily into the Fade, I had a facial expression like oh my stars, this is really a very big deal — and I think that DA2 was the weakest game for it. I enjoy the sometimes-tense conversations of the Dragon Age games, and I was really biting my nails in the climactic conversation with the Arishok.

    The game had huge issues, but I think those issues are mainly in stuff that Dragon Age is not good at, as a whole: environment design (never noticed the environments in any Dragon Age), pacing (all three are pretty terrible at it), hiding the rails of the plot (oh gosh DA:I in particular makes no sense at all), and making interesting content.

    That last one is a point of deep frustration for me, though, because DA:O’s best content came from the modding scene. DA:O’s systems were really made to sing in fan-made modules, and DA2 suffered really badly from the lack of them. In particular, it broke my heart that DA2’s team spent so much time making these new systems and this new visual style, and then didn’t include any way to add additional content, when a shortage of content was the game’s biggest weakness.

    If DA2 had a mod scene, I’d still be playing it today.

    • DrMcCoy says:

      Well, if you have a lot of time to help with xoreos, Dragon Age II might have mod support one day. :P

    • malkav11 says:

      I can accept that some people prefer Dragon Age II’s style of combat to that of Origins, though I cannot understand why – it’s so freaking shallow and devoid of strategy or decision-making. But I can’t understand liking it in DA II. It’s pretty much the same system in Inquisition, but Inquisition keeps each fight down to a size where it’s actually fast and fluid and there’s almost no sudden mid-combat respawns (and where there are, there’s a mechanic behind it and it’s something you’re intended to stop, not just slog through). And Inquisition’s abilities all feel impactful and effective out of the gate, not only after you’ve completely upgraded them. II’s combats are neither faster nor sexier than either other Dragon Age game. They’re drawn out slapfights against waves of identical enemies.

      The banter is pretty great, though.

  34. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    That game had so many problems, but in the end I still loved it, mostly due to the characters. Last year I played the story DLCs before starting Inquisition and it was great to meet my party again.

    But yes, the smaller scope of the story and setting was great too, even though I do still enjoy to rescue the world from ancient evil, occasionally.

  35. Ejmir says:

    DA 2 was a pleasant game with some flaws, and I have only good memories of it (even if, as a fan of DA:O I was a bit disappointed to not be able to choose my own story).
    DA:I on the opposite is just a terrible game.

  36. Laurentius says:

    I don’t get the hate for EA/Bioware for this game tbh. Sure it wasn’t good imo but they released the demo! Yes, the proper demo at that time and age. So I played the demo and knew from start that it wasn’t from me so I saved money on that. Later on I watched the DAII story on LP’s skipping all dull combat and boring fetch quests. It would be stellar if DA:I had the demo as well as I made mistae of picking it up after glowing reviews…

  37. welverin says:

    I did, and I liked it.

  38. Emeraude says:

    The things for me about DA2 is that for one, it’s worse than bad: it’s promising, I’m really interested in what it’s trying to achieve (the concentration on one city over time, on more “mundane” concerns and people, for lack of a better word), and it’s a failure of ridicule proportions in execution.

    And then, unrelated to the game proper, there’s the whole bait and switch about DA:O promising a return to form of classical cRPGs only for DA2 to be aiming so hard being a jRPG (and I know the terms are kinda void, but people should get what I’m trying to convey there). Not that I have anything against the genre – I’m a fan really, but I don’t like feeling like I’ve been lied to by marketing bullshit.

    I guess the combination of the two makes it all the worse. If DA2 was actually successful at being what it wanted to be, I’d resent the situation a lot less.

  39. laotze says:

    As someone who never really got into DA:I and by the halfway mark (or somewhere in ersatz Moria’s god-awful dungeon design) felt barely motivated to complete it, I had a wonderful time with DA2 for similar reasons to yours despite all its flaws. It may have felt incomplete in a lot of ways, but it was an incomplete version of a game I really wanted to play, in a smaller world whose stakes, politics, and problems seemed far more tangible and interesting than yet another Dark Lord Demon Dragon’s army threatening to consume all of Middle Earth for reasons the first game was never much interested in addressing.

  40. Emeraude says:

    Ok, so now, having read the thread, I kinda feel dirty for adding my previous comment so let’s go other something positive in the modicum that grumpy old me can do it.

    I love Kirkwall.

    Well, I love the idea of it, if not the execution proper. There’s a solid frame to what could have been an incredible game there – though I think it missed its genre, and should probably have been a dungeon crawler of sort- I personally ran a short campaign using a home-brewed Dungeon World hack around exploring its under-city, having your sanity slowly eaten away as you discover what it is the city really happens to be, while trying to keep your life from falling when going back to the surface.
    And it just fit the setting so well, it makes me long for all that could have been had DA2 not felt so schizophrenic and unfocused.

    But the city, when willing to go past the mistakes… I like it. It has a mood you can perceive only in glimpses, and it’s sad is so rarely leaves up up to its promise.

    • Emeraude says:

      Oh god, to edit the shame away of that last sentence… I’ll blame exhaustion.

  41. Jerykk says:

    I thought the time-skipping was awful. How can I roleplay my character when I’ve missed about ten years of events and characters? What did my character do in those ten years? Were those actions something I would have chosen to do had I actually been in control? The time-skipping just created a dissonance between the player and his/her character, something that’s a big no-no in an RPG.

    • Emeraude says:

      I think it’s a matter of presentation to a point though… would have probably been easier to accept those transitions had the developers been able to convey that those years skipped were basically you falling into a routine.

      Which is hard to do when they’re basically setting you up as a nobody suddenly going into nobility for one. What’s routine about your whole life being turned upside out ?

      But then look at Grim Fandango doing the same…

      Another issue I guess is that some RPG players don’t see the main character as an extension of themselves but as a full-fledged third person (I know I do). Different approaches lead to different reactions to the same things.

    • Booker says:

      It could have been awesome if they would have done it right. Wouldn’t it have been interesting, to see the outcome of your choices, because it’s now 2 years later? Of course it would have been. It’s just that they didn’t create a new/different city for each time. That’s what was the bummer. Since they didn’t actually do anything with this element, THAT’S WHY they could have skipped it altogether, but not why it’s a bad idea in general.

      I would have loved to start a business with someone in the game and make a few choices, then, after a few years I would have seen the outcome and depending on my choices the business would either be flourishing or failing. That would have been really interesting. But Hawke couldn’t even change her own mansion. That’s how little time was put into this game.

  42. xsikal says:

    As with most people who have commented negatively about the game, I didn’t have any problem with the SCALE of the story. I had lots of problems with the lousy combat, the unimaginative environments, the failure of choice & consequence, the loss of RPG facets from DA:O (which I found dull but better than its sequel), and really almost every other aspect of its implementation.

    But sure… the scale of the story, and the fact that it wasn’t a ‘save the world’ plot was fine. Too bad the game itself was not.

  43. ffordesoon says:

    That DA2 is still this polarizing years after its release proves something I’ve been saying for a while: the Nerd Internet abhors a disappointment more than something bad, even if the disappointing thing isn’t bad in and of itself. And DA2 isn’t. It’s a noble failure with a lot of interesting ideas that deserve to be explored in more detail. I ultimately didn’t have a great time with it, but it’s depressing to see it ripped to shreds every time anyone mentions the thing, because it’s not bad, and sometimes it’s even great.

    • laotze says:

      Spot on. I’m guilty of this myself in my taste for DA:O, since at the time I was hoping for a new Baldur’s Gate by way of KOTOR/Mass Effect and instead found something way less interesting. Still a good game by any less judgmental metric.

    • malkav11 says:

      It can be difficult sometimes to remember that I actually liked Dragon Age II more than Mass Effect 2, and that I did, in fact, like both. They just both have a lot of problems.

    • Emeraude says:

      Oh, totally, I do think disappointing is worse than bad. Because full on bad you can and will just ignore. Disappointing is going to elicit your interest anyway because you want it to work so much. As such the negative reaction to it becomes much stronger, because the personal involvement has been much stronger too.

  44. Michael Fogg says:

    Yes I have and I want 40 hours of my life back

    • Booker says:

      Why would you something back that you loved and enjoyed? Or do you want to experience it again for the first time?
      If you wouldn’t have enjoyed it a lot, you never would have played it for 40 hours. More like 1 hour maybe, because that’s more time than anyone needs to find out if it’s any good.

    • pizzapicante27 says:

      He, I only had to spend 27 hrs. through this slog, Im glad thats well and behind me.
      To the other answer, its a Bioware game, back when they where good, you pushed through them whether they were good or mediocre they were Bioware and that was enough, you were there for the story… and then DA2 happened, and you know, everything has a limit.

  45. craigdolphin says:

    I never had a problem with the scale of the story in DA2. I just disliked the story that was told, and a lot of the characters in the story, and I had huge issues with the execution of the game itself.

    I adored DAO: it was my favorite game of all time until TW3 came out. DA2 felt like such a change from DAO that it just felt massively disappointing when I was so looking forward to more and better of what was in DAO, not what DA2 served up.

    To be fair, DA2 was an ok game, maybe even a mediocre/good one. But I do not buy Bioware games for mediocrity. And the heart of a Bioware game are (IMO) the characters. And that was where DA2 fell flattest for me.

    Most of the NPC’s were just unlikable and not particularly interesting to me. Varric of course was interesting, as was Cassandra. Isabela had her moments. But the rest I cared nothing for by the end of the game. And that’s just shocking for any Bioware game.

    And I largely place the blame for the disconnect on the changes to the conversation system that took place between DAO and Da2. In DAO, you could initiate conversation with your party members wherever you were. Even if they had nothing new to say, there was always the possibility to ‘talk’ with them, just in case. It really helped break up the otherwise lengthy combat/combat/combat of the journey when you didn’t want to fight the next group of enemies just yet and could elect to talk to your ‘friends’ instead for a bit.

    In DA2, you could only initiate dialog with your party members in their home base. And for me it totally destroyed the illusion of them as being ‘people’ sharing my adventure. instead, your party members became nothing more than walking combat assets the moment they left their home base.

    And the endless tedium of the combat in DA2, added to the mono-thematic tedium of EVERY SINGLE QUEST being about mages vs templars just sucked all the life out of the world.

    Yes there were simpler issues such as overly recycled environments (exacerbated by the poorly executed minimap that only seemed designed to highlight the re-use of assets), and the obvious and unfortunate art-style downgrade,
    and a lot of criticism mentions these aspects. But for me, the far biggest sins in DA2 came down to an absolute failure of the game to allow me to view my party members as people.

    And sadly, while I think this was executed better in DAI than in DA2, the same is true for that game also. So I am left with the realization that Bioware games are not longer a guarantee of quality, nor are they any longer necessarily a great predictor of my enjoyment.

  46. Booker says:

    Couldn’t agree more. The potential of this game was amazing. If they’d just followed through on their concept all the way, it certainly would have been the best of all the Dragon Age games. By far.

    I too am sick of just saving the world in almost every BioWare game. This whole arc with Hawke being just some refugee and working her way up along with some close friends felt very personal to me and rewarding. Just look at the Inquisitor in DAI in comparison, your character always automatically becomes Inquisitor, just because he’s there. It’s unfulfilling.

    I so would have loved to see a Dragon Age II, in which, after every time gap, Kirkwall would have looked differently, new houses, new shops, new characters. No city looks the same for a decade, especially not a rich, important one. This changes even could have been dependent on choices the player made and quests he played. I bet this was there original idea, but too short dev times made it impossible to build any of this.
    A game like this would have blown Inquisition out of the water and would have been the sequel everyone wanted to play after Origins. I’m glad at least Hawke showed up in Inquisition, this character deserved so much better and only got the short end of the stick because BioWare wouldn’t give their devs the time they needed.

    The cast of characters was the best of all 3 games for me too. I thought the people in DAI were mostly forgettable. They hid this fact a little bit by reusing many of the actually good earlier characters, like Leliana, Morrigan and Varric.

    I have no desire to play Inquisition again, but the framework of Dragon Age II just grips me. There are so many elements in it I really like, even if they didn’t see it through until the end. I’ll always remember this game for what it could have been.

  47. sharkh20 says:

    Perhaps the most lazily created game ever made. Nothing to do with scale either. A small scale game is fine, but you have to make sure that everything works perfectly. Everything should be finely crafted to warrant that small scale. That was not the case with this game. It was corner cutting to the extreme. Watered down boring combat (DA3 combat wasn’t any better in this regard), annoying characters, and an almost insulting 4-5 hallway levels that would just repeat over and over.

    • laotze says:

      Laziness had nothing to do with it. You do realize Dragon Age 2 had a high-pressured dev cycle of less than a year and a half, right, whereas Origins had at least five even if you don’t count the years of pre-development?

      • sharkh20 says:

        I would say that that is laziness on EA’s part. They knew that there was a market, so they quickly had Bioware put together a stinker with another game’s title on it. Not wanting to spend the time to make something good is lazy in my book.

  48. surethingbud says:

    Trust a woman to Not Get It.

    The first Dragon Age was a winner because it hearkened back to the top-down isometric pausable party-based realtime RPG strategy battles of yesteryear (Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, etc).

    The second Dragon Age sucked because they made the fighting more streamlined and ‘dynamic’ which basically meant ‘easy’ and took the tactics out. Also you could only have one piece of armor: lame. They dumbed down everything, and it sucked. The smaller geographical focus was fine. The cool cutscenes and art direction were just that, cool. But the dumbing down of combat was unforgivable.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Wow. Way to immediately render it impossible to take anything you said there seriously in the opening sentence.

    • icarussc says:

      I’m not quite sure how you expect to lead with an insult and then take part in a conversation.

    • ffordesoon says:

      Trust an Angry Internet Man to decide that because he disagrees with something one woman wrote about a videogame he didn’t like, all women are inferior to his Objectively Correct Opinion.

  49. icarussc says:

    So true, Alice, SO TRUE! I loved the city concept, I loved the time-skipping concept, I loved the refugee focus, I loved so much about the idea, and truthfully, I liked quite enough of the execution to make it an enjoyable experience, especially once I’d set the difficulty to its lowest setting so that combat was merely a speedbump in the story.

    Now, unlike many here, I loved Inquisition for its scope and its gorgeous, gorgeous artistic vision of geography and place. But I think that another small-setting RPG executed to Bioware’s maximum level of skill would be utterly delightful.

  50. Umair_Khan says:

    Yeah,,, it was mediocre. One of very few games that I couldn’t even force myself to finish it. Normally I finish games even if they suck. DA: Origins was masterpiece.