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Default Thoughts on DA2 after completing it

March 16th, 2011, 20:18
Originally Posted by DeepO View Post

DA2´s main quest is "not so obvious" not because it´s intricately constructed, full of smart subtlety or overall well written, but because it´s a directionless mess.
It´s just a bunch of loosely (if at all) connected side quests the game´s throwing at you as you go on, there´s rarely any sense of tangible reason why you should do them.
It seems you haven't captured or appreciate the scenario choice of the game. It's not a long linear story with one introduction, 4 (or 5?) parts still linear but you can do them in various order, and one linear final, the whole with more or less secondary quests not really related but that help remove the linear feeling. That is the typical Bioware main story design.

Here nope, there's no main story, it's you the main story. You are an obscure unknown immigrant and through your actions and decisions you just build your reputation in a town. There's ton more decisions than in DAO and you seem think they have no consequences but I seriously doubt about it, but ok only replay will tell. But just one example, did you got at beginning of chapter 2 absolutely no Templar that want talk to you, but one almost rejected from the order? I got that, but because of past choices I wasn't surprised to get that. Another little detail, after to have made a series of choices I got from the mother a dialog, in it she says she don't like how I am involved with chantry problems or the templars.

Yes there is no main story at least during the long first part introduction and the very long first chapter, but that's on purpose. For me it was quite well done, it build very well the feeling to not be the hero that destiny has mark and many already know it. No you are almost an anti hero and you are involved in many different stuff, not that important because you aren't that important, and you have many little decision to do, nothing related to saving a whole town, area, population or world. But those many decisions will (my bet) build series of small consequences and some more important consequences.

EDIT: As a fresh almost unknown immigrant arriving in a new town, have strong main story on start would have been awfully artificial.
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March 17th, 2011, 13:17
Originally Posted by KasperFauerby View Post
It's a classic comment, seen again and again for many different games. I see two possible explanations:

1) Bragging. Some people think finishing a game fast makes them cool somehow.. so they exaggerate a bit.

2) Some gamers have a lot of time for gaming and can/will allow themselves to be completely absorbed in a game. When they finish the game it doesn't *feel* like a long time for them, so they just throw out an estimate matching their feeling that the game was short.

Usually I simply don't believe reports like this, since I often know for a fact that the game in question *can not* be completed that fast
You forgot probably the most important one…
3) Explorers vs. Story followers. This is what happens in my case. I finished Fallout 3 in a weekend (probably about 15-20 hours) yet others say they've played 100 hours and haven't finished the game. My character wasn't even max level (finished at 16 I think). Some people like exploring everything and leaving the game story as something to do later. Others follow the story.
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March 17th, 2011, 19:49
I haven't come close to finishing but,

If you leave it on Easy, click random dialog choices and skip the dialog, leave on quest marker arrows and just run around to the next one as fast as you can then yes, I believe you could finish this game very quickly.

Normal level was getting way too easy for me. I'm finding Hard to be just about right so far. Some battles are still not really difficult, but more key battles in main story quests get pretty intense and require potions and tons of pausing, and I've had a few battles with all my party getting killed. I have little patience for fiddling with tactics, so I clear almost all of them out and do everything manually.
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March 17th, 2011, 21:20
Originally Posted by DoctorNarrative View Post
The length this is funny. I see repeated posts on forums claiming the game is 15 hours long or 20 hours long… I'm at 25 hours and just got to chapter two.

The game is plenty long enough.
Average time on the official forum is between 30-35 hours (going by a poll). I have seen quite a few people clock over 40 hours with it and some over 60 hours.

I finished at ~31 hours, but I missed lots of quests and a few companions dialogs. I was level 24 and I know players can get close to level 26. That's a lot of XP missing. In my second playthrough, I already found 2 quests that I missed in Act 1.

People who don't bother looking everywhere will be missing on lots of quests. One of the quest I just found require you to wait for a NPC scenes to stop (not in a cinematic) and for the quest giver to show up…
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March 17th, 2011, 22:27
Originally Posted by azarhal View Post
Average time on the official forum is between 30-35 hours (going by a poll). I have seen quite a few people clock over 40 hours with it and some over 60 hours.

I finished at ~31 hours, but I missed lots of quests and a few companions dialogs. I was level 24 and I know players can get close to level 26. That's a lot of XP missing. In my second playthrough, I already found 2 quests that I missed in Act 1.

People who don't bother looking everywhere will be missing on lots of quests. One of the quest I just found require you to wait for a NPC scenes to stop (not in a cinematic) and for the quest giver to show up…
There isn't quests only to find by digging but more dialogs and more little stuff. As usual in Bioware games I played they don't know design little mildly hidden stuff that has the detail to catch your eyes/your attention. A typical example are the numerous books, many are just decorum and some are codex but there's two flaw in their design. Firstly when you pick one codex book it stays here, so next time you go there you could believe again it's a codex. Secondly there's no special characteristics to recognize code books from other. So you just rely on using the key that shows selectable items.

Not cool but there's still many stuff to find and in general a selectable item hidden in a corner won't show, you'll need check the corner first. And in general I appreciate how (for once) Bioware reward often the curious player when usually there isn't that much stuff out of the main paths highlighted in the game.

I'm now at 60 hours of play and only started second chapter. I don't use at all the quests pointer so it involves some time lost. I also search sometime some stuff I suspect and lost time through that. And I also made few but not short sessions of equipment improvement this taking some time.

But it's also, still in chapter 2:
  • 81 quests but yes 10/15 are very basic, it's sill stuff good to have.
  • 3 special items generating a special codex in the diary, but I have seen few at very high price at some shop probably also generating 1 or 2 more special item codex. I don't count the 10 items codex coming from DLC of the SE.
  • About 20 special notes and letters, I don't have the exact track because not all are recorded in the diary.
  • 6 significant rumors recorded in the diary but along the progression there have been quite more.
  • 15 companions armor set special bonus equipments.
  • Yeah I won't count the other very noteworthy items or codex or the special dialogs not directly linked to a quest, it's not that much a detail because it's relatively often them that will make links with your past actions.
For sure in term of number it can't be compared to DAO… but it's still only first part of chapter 2… and how many you found or perhaps you just fly following the quest pointer, or almost?

EDIT: Ooops, this post isn't targeted to you azarhal, nor to anybody in particular in fact.
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March 17th, 2011, 23:07
I'm at 44 hours and started act three about an hour ago (game time). I guess it will be about 60 by the end, which is plenty long enough.

Think I might start an evil mage playthrough of DA:O when I'm done.
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March 18th, 2011, 00:03
I was at 26 hrs by the time I finished my 1st playthrough, but that was ignoring all side/secondary quests in 3rd chapter.

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March 18th, 2011, 00:08
I finished at 41 hours and did almost every quest possible. Second time the same.

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March 18th, 2011, 00:50
Originally Posted by purpleblob View Post
I was at 26 hrs by the time I finished my 1st playthrough, but that was ignoring all side/secondary quests in 3rd chapter.
I think you skipped a lot more than Act 3 sidequests since I was at double that time when I GOT to act 3
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March 18th, 2011, 07:13
Yeah, I did skip some of side/secondary quests in chapter 1 and 2 as well. I probably haven't even picked up a lot of them in my 1st playthrough. Also skipped all Merrill quests. I can't stand her…

I'm in my 2nd playthrough. Barely started chapter 2 and I'm at 19.5hrs already.

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March 18th, 2011, 08:11
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
I finished at 41 hours and did almost every quest possible. Second time the same.
I wish to see the save. But the true one because it wouldn't be difficult to produce once with short play time and all stuff done and found, by skipping any dialog, rushing to quest pointer, lower difficulty to easy, and use some guide to help found anything.

Anyway, I'm curious how many quests at end of the game (yes it's just a number as a significant number are just a tiny stuff to do) and other stuff like I quoted.

EDIT: DA2 is showing a significant change in design approach for Bioware alas all this misadventure will push them back to their standard design cliché (and now somehow tedious for me when DA2 is a nice surprise).
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March 18th, 2011, 16:14
Originally Posted by Dasale View Post
EDIT: DA2 is showing a significant change in design approach for Bioware alas all this misadventure will push them back to their standard design cliché (and now somehow tedious for me when DA2 is a nice surprise).
The design isn't really changed from their previous game except for the story structure and how companions are handled and they said they wanted to experiment with that. From what I have seen most people like these changes. Most people just have a problem with the lack of "dungeons" variety and the "waves".

For fun, I re-installed DAO last night and played about 20 minutes of it. The first thing that I saw was that the game felt more like an old fashioned point-to-click game then DA2, yet both support that feature. I came to the conclusion that the feeling is caused by the combat animations. DAO have ~1 animations by combat type and they are clunky, while DA2 have something different for almost every abilities and look more "organic" (despite some of them being over the top). Also, DAO loading time are atrocious, now I remember why I have never been able to replay the game.
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March 18th, 2011, 16:26
Okay, a question: I played DA:O for quite a while. I stopped a little after getting the dwarf character. I got very bored with all the companion-related quests. What percentage of quests deal with your companions? I would really enjoy Dragon Age more if I could "roll" all the characters and if they were mute units

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March 18th, 2011, 16:34
Originally Posted by crpgnut View Post
Okay, a question: I played DA:O for quite a while. I stopped a little after getting the dwarf character. I got very bored with all the companion-related quests. What percentage of quests deal with your companions? I would really enjoy Dragon Age more if I could "roll" all the characters and if they were mute units
In DA2 you mean? Every act, of which there are three, has a companion quest, as well as a lot of companion dialogue scenes. Companions are a core part of the game.
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March 18th, 2011, 16:45
Originally Posted by Dasale View Post
I wish to see the save. But the true one because it wouldn't be difficult to produce once with short play time and all stuff done and found, by skipping any dialog, rushing to quest pointer, lower difficulty to easy, and use some guide to help found anything.

Anyway, I'm curious how many quests at end of the game (yes it's just a number as a significant number are just a tiny stuff to do) and other stuff like I quoted.

EDIT: DA2 is showing a significant change in design approach for Bioware alas all this misadventure will push them back to their standard design cliché (and now somehow tedious for me when DA2 is a nice surprise).
Says you Dasale since you doubt anything people say. 41 hrs is what it took me. Complain how it cant be done unless you skip dialogs all you want. Maybe your just a bad gamer.

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March 18th, 2011, 18:28
Originally Posted by crpgnut View Post
Okay, a question: I played DA:O for quite a while. I stopped a little after getting the dwarf character. I got very bored with all the companion-related quests. What percentage of quests deal with your companions? I would really enjoy Dragon Age more if I could "roll" all the characters and if they were mute units
You didn´t have to do companion quests in DA:O and if you found talking with companions boring you could cut a lot of it by not being active in that regard (and in such case you´d likely not get most of personal quests even started).

DA2 has less talking with companions and most of pc/companion chats are engineered via quest prompts, which you can ignore in some cases, though given the "engineer-y" implementation that basically means not talking to them at all.
If you talk to them, you get the quest even if you decline to do it, at least that happened in few cases I tried to do that out of curiosity. You can ignore them afterwards I think, though it may not stop their plots in later acts.

If ignoring is not an option for you, then companion quests are a lot more prominent in DA2. Pretty much every companion has own quest line consisting of 3 subquests (one for each act), some are tied to the "main plot" and most of dialogues you can have with companions revolve around these quests.
I think I may have spent overall more time on companion quests than on the main quest.
Personally I think few of these contained some of the better material the game has to offer and companions are also where most of the game´s C&C take place (tied to the friendship/rivalry meter, not strictly to how or if at all you´ve done their quests, though these can influence the meter quite significantly).

The thing however is that unlike in DA:O, DA2´s "main quest" sucks balls for most of the time.
It´s basically a disjointed set of miniquests which should somehow come to fruition later which does happen, but often in a loose manner and it mostly plays out the same anyway.
Motivation for your character to do them is often more than dubious - for example, most quests listed under main plot in act 1 are there only because they´ll lead to some events in later acts, otherwise they´re pretty much indiscernible from some other side quests. However, your char´s sole "main plot" goal in act 1 is to gather 50 gold somehow. So you may as well ignore these main subquests altogether and get the money via side quests (which suck too, certainly nothing like BG2´s second chapter, for example).
So what happens when you gather 50 gold without touching some of the main plot parts? You have to finish all of them anyway.
The main quest gets only somewhat interesting in the second half of act 2, but that´s quickly rectified in retarded act 3.

Thus my point is, ignoring companion quests so that you could get to the "good stuff" in my opinion isn´t an option in DA2, because there´s very little of other "good stuff" present.
Personally I´d summarize game´s solid points as companions (not all of them), focus on family (unusual element, but somewhat misused/underused in the end), qunari (not enough to save the whole story "arc") and combat skills (not well supported by other aspects of combat, like camera, targeting and encounter design).
The game is mediocre at best anyway (say, 5/10), but you take companions out of it and you´re in a plain bad games territory (say, 3/10).

All in all, given what I think about the game in general, plus your preferences in regards to companions, I don´t recommend Dragon Age 2.

This post was a lot longer than it needed to be, sorry .
Last edited by DeepO; March 18th, 2011 at 18:49.
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March 18th, 2011, 18:38
@DeepO, nope I liked the in-depth thoughts behind my posted preferences. I was afraid that DA2 went further down the path in the parts of the game I disliked, and you confirmed this.

I buy every crpg, but I will wait until I can get a good deal on it. I still haven't bought Risen or Alpha Protocol, though I will eventually. I'm not sure about Arcania. It may not be worth the bother. I'm in Chapter 4 of 2W2 and am enjoying it enough to replay, so my gaming time is pretty booked for now. I may also replay TRoT with Ergo's stuff added, so that'll push DA2 back further. If I make it to Skyrim before purchasing DA2, that's typically 6 months of gaming when I get a TES game. By then, DA2 will be nearing a GOTY version, which would be the perfect time to buy

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March 18th, 2011, 18:59
Actually, DA2 and DA:O have the same amount of Companion conversations (confirmed by the devs). DA:O allowed you to go through it all in one go as soon as you got the camp. DA2 have them spread over the act.

In both cases you don't have to talk to your companions or do their quests. Although, DA2 companions comment in quests a lot more then in DA:O, or any BioWare game for that matter.
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March 18th, 2011, 19:27
I'm only around five or eight hours in after restarting a couple times, and so far I really like it.

On Hard difficulty, there are a few fights that I've come across so far that completely kicked my ass, and I had to re try and even lower the difficulty once. The companion interactions are very well done. There's a lot of other things I like about it too, but I'm waiting until I'm further in until I critique it more.

Yes it has faults and in theory I miss some of the skills and stats. BUT in reality DA1 did a terrible job of explaining how some of these worked anyway, so in many cases it was pure guess work. Truly, at this point, I don't mind that they "streamlined" things. Had they taken a well-known rule set like AD&D and simplified it it would be a bigger issue for me. But really, a lot of the DA1 system never made much sense to me, so I don't care very much.

I'm loving that it's not a "OMG save the world immediately" scenario (so far). And it appears to be a pretty complex story.

The amount of bitching about this game is laughable, and in the meantime, I'm enjoying it quite a bit.
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March 18th, 2011, 19:40
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
Says you Dasale since you doubt anything people say. 41 hrs is what it took me. Complain how it cant be done unless you skip dialogs all you want. Maybe your just a bad gamer.
Lol I'm sorry to make you feel I doubt you played it two time. No I believe it, but less that in 41 hours you played it deeply up to have found all the little secrets and available quests. With how many quests you end? How many special items? How many letters and notes? And so on. And I won't mention the little dialog or even some rather big where no quest pointer lead you.
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