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Default Thoughts on DA2 after completing it

July 18th, 2011, 18:32
Obviously the question of length is a subjective one, gentlemen.

I got my money's worth with Origins. With DA2, I simply felt like I'd lived on junk food for a couple of days. It's a short, sugar rush and is easily consumable. Not my preferred diet, to be honest. I like the extra gristle that Origin had - although I can understand if one were to find it 'bloating'.

@ Zaleukos
Maybe they wanted to avoid the elf-healer stereotype and so cut off Merrill's healing skill tree? It also kind of makes sense from a roleplaying/story perspective since she's a blood mage. Personally, I felt that using her and my mage character without healing at all and concentrating on power, made for a formidable combination.
Anyway, have fun with chapter 2…but be prepared for what awaits you in chapter 3.

Diddledy high,
Diddledy low,
Come brave blood sheep,
You've a goodly way to go.
- Brilhasti Ap Tarj
Last edited by Pessimeister; July 19th, 2011 at 13:21.
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July 19th, 2011, 06:58
I think the core combat of the game was fun, and I enjoyed the boss fights. What killed the game for me, and made me feel like I had a tremendous weight lifted from my shoulders as the credits rolled, was the respawning waves. I dont care how much you like gummy bears - eat them for 50 or hours and you wont like them anymore. It padded the game way too much, and finally made the combats a chore.

..and the Mabari War Hound was a mere shadow of the awesome companion that he was in DA:O! grr!
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July 24th, 2011, 01:35
I can understand that. Respawning makes tactical positioning a joke. It is one reason that I only play on normal. Fighting one-wave battles is significantly easier than the DAO battles, but the respawners out of nowhere mess things up.

Now I got to the duel with the Arishok and closed the game after 6 minutes of pounding, 10 health potions, and getting him down to something like 85% health. This duel has to be the dullest boss battle ever if you play as a 2H warrior. I have two or three attacks that are meaningful against him, and he has two fairly avoidable attacks in addition to the normal damage he dishes out.

Lesson for RPG devs: A battle without tactical options doesnt become more interesting because the enemy has 15000 hitpoints.

Environment recycling made me chuckle when one of the NPCs said "we've been here before". No shit sherlock…
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July 24th, 2011, 07:46
yeah, that's the reason that the final act had me rushing thru not doing any sidequests. It was more of the same enemies in the same locales - it was almost insulting after a while and just flat out boring. You know, I think the waves could have been done occasionally and believeably - make more enemies come over the hill, or have a caster summon them, or come in thru a previously locked dooor or something.. but to just have them suddenly appear all around you in a closed room or parachute thru a solid ceiling is just cheap and inexcusable for a top-ranking developer to do.

I enjoyed the boss battles, the Arishok included. While he was indeed a tough opponent, and he did own me pretty hard the first two times I fought him, I got him on the third try. Good old-fashioned kiting around the columns, getting some distance then sitting still so he'd charge - then move and shank him in the ribs. Also, I found that fire grenades would stun him for a few, giving me some nice attacks of opportunity. I was playing a rogue however, and she had some pretty heavy-handed crits and evasion tactics that probably made that difficult fight a tad more tolerable for me.
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July 25th, 2011, 13:48
I'm probably about halfway through chapter three now.

I've had fun with most other boss battles.

Refusing the duel gave a much easier battle where the bloody Arishok seemed to have a good deal fewer HP. My problem with the battle wasnt so much difficulty as sheer attrition. He would have worm me out after 15 minutes or so unless he ran out of potions before that.

I agree that the waves could have worked as an occasional ingredient, but as things stand they break the suspension of disbelief, not to mention that they in the cases of more difficult battles make one resort to extremely cheesy kiting (the Xe-sth desire demon battle springs to mind).

Had the respawning and recycling been removed I'd say DA2 is at least as good as the predecessor and well up to Bioware standards, but due to those flaws it ends up as a B game.

There are a few other gripes with the game, but those are integral parts of the Bioware formula. The predictability of companion quests is a bit dull. All BW games have this but DA2 is together with NWN and ME2 among the most blatant offenders. I'd also prefer some mutually exclusive choices where I dont have the entire group tag along. Neither of those issues are likely to disappear in future Bioware titles though…
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July 27th, 2011, 14:49
Now I've finished the game

The ending was better than I expected and actually felt less rushed than the rest of the game, though I can see why a lot of players are too worn out by the repetition to enjoy it. It was nice that I actually got some of the choices that I wanted.

The main gripes of map recycling and respawning waves remain, but were less annoying during the end-game (new maps and fairly limited nonsensical respawning).

I'd add another complaint due to an issue that is minor but noticable. Since loot is level-scaled and the supposed named powerful stuff isnt you are likely to end up with the named stuff being considerably worse than the generic drops through much of the game, unless you skip a bunch of sidequests. I think this could have been handled by making sidequests mutually exclusive, which both would shorten the game a bit and increase replay value. I think that would make for a better game in most ways.

7.5/10 seems about right for this game. With more map diversity and no respawning it would be at 8.5 instead. So a solid game with some serious flaws, much like Mass Effect 1 or Jade Empire. Luckily even a weak Bioware title is decent. I wont bother with DLC unless it adds to the story a la Awakenings, but Ill gladly buy DA3.

I think the game would have been received much better if it had been from some other dev and there hadnt been a DAO to build up expectations. As things stand some sloppy design decisions obscure improvements (in ruleset and companion interaction where it is much harder to keep everyone happy).
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August 17th, 2011, 07:15
Originally Posted by Zaleukos View Post
As things stand some sloppy design decisions obscure improvements (in ruleset and companion interaction where it is much harder to keep everyone happy).
I must say, I really liked the latter point. In DA2, it's not like "What, I said something wrong and now you hate my guts? - Awww, here, take a bone/gold ring/have a drink."
Despite this, I found some companions far easier to 'navigate' than others, and knowing this (at least partially) depends on my personal style of play is a certain plus.
For example, I got along naturally well with Aveline who was pretty cool with nearly everything I threw at her (up to a certain point, of course). We got along so well the world around us was full of angel wings most of the time .
Then there were others who caused me headaches around 75% of the day. Conversing with Anders felt like playing good ol' Minesweeper, just that Minesweeper didn't hump your leg when it didin't explode right in your face.
Yes, I guess this is what I really like about DA2. I didn't expect to like it, but it failed to disappoint me (okay, had I listened to the reviews back in the day, I wouldn't have bought Realms of the Haunting. Always see for yourself.)
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