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Default Dragon Age 2 - Review at RPGCodex

March 24th, 2011, 23:13
Vault Dweller has posted his review for DA2 on the RPGCodex.
He likes the setting and the story:
I’d say it’s one of the more interesting settings for an RPG and it does manage to raise interesting questions, questions without an easy answer. The potential is there, but it’s wasted on an action RPG where you kill bad guys and monsters instead of exploring the ethics of the society Bioware created.
He's not too happy about the gameplay:
Unfortunately, despite a refreshing move away from epic clichés the story lacks cohesion and a direction, feeling more like a chain of random events than a overarching narrative. Things just happen around you, often without a clear reason or a warning. Maybe it is the execution that’s lacking or the focus on combat and lack of free exploration of the world and its characters that get in the way, but the end result is often jarring. The prized "immersion" is rarely present.
He finds the game challening on hard:
The game is challenging on Hard (though it would have been nice if friendly fire had been enabled there too), but the challenge comes not from the ruleset as it does in Dungeon & Dragons games and not from well-designed monsters with a variety of abilities as it does in Diablo-like games, no, it comes from the sheer numbers of enemies zerging your party and from that second wave of enemies spawning in all around you, literally out of thin air in most cases, which is the laziest design possible.
And the conclusion:
Even though the setting and the events are interesting, and the various options show potential, the overwhelming focus on killing things keeps you from digging into the world and its characters in a satisfying manner, and cripple replayability. Unfortunately, the combat is too repetitive to carry the game on its own. It's bad enough that even the mainstream reporters have noticed, though they are generally quick to make excuses.
Thanks to Akulakhan in this thread on the Bioware DA2 forums for finding this.
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March 24th, 2011, 23:13
oh lawdy, just read all of it, this will create some X-treme butthurt on the Biowear forums. just have to press a few buttons for awesomeness.

pretty good

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March 24th, 2011, 23:17
What kind of writing style is it to write comments this way ?

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March 24th, 2011, 23:45
"But, without cooldowns, how would I know when to click my buttons?"

My stomach hurts from laughing so hard at this. I know it's sarcastic and snotty, but it just kills me every time I read it.
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March 24th, 2011, 23:46
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
What kind of writing style is it to write comments this way ?
Say that again?
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March 25th, 2011, 02:11
Not as bad of a review as I thought the site would make given all the hatred toward bioware. Basically the game is not as bad as I thought but not as good as the original Dragon Age. One thing I can agree on is the story lacks cohesion and a direction feeling more like a chain of random events than a overarching narrative.

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Last edited by Couchpotato; March 25th, 2011 at 11:37.
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March 25th, 2011, 04:56
That was a decent and fair review if not extremely spoiler heavy. He basically summarizes nearly all of the major plot C&C and alternate paths in detail. The map reuse is definitely egregious especially the fact that they couldn't even bother to hide inaccessible areas from the map or properly hide the walled off doors.

I've been playing through on Nightmare to get friendly fire enabled and actually do enjoy the combat that way generally speaking. Its tough and I find I do have to select which enemies to target first though the variety is for that is pretty low as its usually either clear out the mooks first or the mini-boss first. But I do dread seeing assassins and the spiders with the ranged stun attack since those have probably contributed to the most game overs screens. I wish there was more variety of attacks from the enemy than the typical mob rush and hope that for the next play through, if that happens, the modding community can fix some of that.
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March 25th, 2011, 05:24
We can usually count on VD to call a spade, a spade. That's probably the most honest and penetrating review I've read for the game so far, concentrating on all the individual aspects I care about. The pockets of sarcasm serve well as a vehicle for delivering emphasis to the critical points without becoming hyperbolic or fanatical.
Overall, a telling review for me.

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March 25th, 2011, 06:46
Good and fair review - entertaining, too.

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March 25th, 2011, 09:44
Good review, but to many spoilers, had to really fast jump on several occasions.

I will in all probability buy it and play it down the line, but that line is getting farther and farther away.

Instead I reinstalled Mass Effect, some flaws, but what a game!
Immersion, atmosphere.

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March 25th, 2011, 10:40
Originally Posted by Captain Buzzkill View Post
Say that again?
Why ?

I don't understand your question.

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March 25th, 2011, 12:44
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
Why ?

I don't understand your question.
He didn't understand yours and neither did I.
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March 25th, 2011, 13:14
Amazingly, the BioWare forums seem to largely agree with Vince…
http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/to…ndex/6753852/1
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March 25th, 2011, 13:23
I appreciate that Bioware is indirectly showing the mainstream audience, that sometimes being "awesome" just isn't enough.
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March 25th, 2011, 13:54
Pretty much spot on and a very fun read.
A bit pity Vault Dweller didn´t force himself to finish the last act, the game is particularly hilarious in there.

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March 25th, 2011, 15:18
"It's bad enough that even the mainstream reporters have noticed, though they are generally quick to make excuses. "

THIS. How can a mediocre trash like DA2 get so high ratings? Its just BS.
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March 25th, 2011, 15:38
Originally Posted by elikal View Post
"It's bad enough that even the mainstream reporters have noticed, though they are generally quick to make excuses. "

THIS. How can a mediocre trash like DA2 get so high ratings? Its just BS.
It's neither mediocre nor trash. You, like most around here, simply have high standards because you hand pick the very best games that you know you're going to enjoy, which means there's a fat chance you never play games that would rate poorly.

DA2 may not be great, but it's definitely above average. Just check out the various threads in the DA2 forum - the general consensus seems to be "good, not great". And that comes from a series of pretty picky players.

On a general basis (not targeted at elikal), I see a lot of people that complain about scores like 4-6 rarely being used. I agree, but the issue isn't as bad as it seems. In fact, I do read sites where I see such scores quite often, but it's simply not given to games most around here would have any interest in (and so they don't read such reviews either).

People on the Watch handpick their games. Most of them probably don't even play more than the best 2-3 titles of any given year, the worst of which they'd call usually call "average". To me, that simply implies they never actually play average games.

If you want average, go into any given store and pick up The Sims X, add-on #217 or some such thing. That is average. If you want trash, go into the same store and find the latest movie based game - now there's a real pile of garbage. Such games are reviewed as well, and usually get incredibly low scores (I've seen a lot of 2s and 3s out of 10). Compared to such garbage, DA2 is definitely a 7 or 8.

It all depends on context and perspective. Playing 30+ new games a year (like a lot of reviewers no doubt do) gives you a different perspective than someone who hand picks the best of the best. Anything with half decent production values will automatically rate at 5 or beyond once you've played games that are really crap.

This is, of course, why reviewers like Mike and VDweller are more reliable than the mainstream ones. They're experts within a specific genre and they only play games they feel like playing, so their context/perspective is always well within the RPG genre. Not so with your average mainstream reviewer - fans of Planescape: Torment generally make bad mainstream reviewers, as their taste is that of a niche group and not the average review reader.
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March 25th, 2011, 15:52
Originally Posted by Jack View Post
He didn't understand yours and neither did I.
Okay, then what I meant :

I was wondering why someone "neds" a certain kind of language for such a comment.

He wrote :

oh lawdy, just read all of it, this will create some X-treme butthurt on the Biowear forums. just have to press a few buttons for awesomeness.
I translate it as this :

Oh, Lady, I have just read all of it. This will create some extreme pain in the gluteus maximus muscle [of people] in the Bioware forums.
There is quite a difference in what he wrote and to what I translated it into.

And so I wonder why it isn't possible to use a more sophisticated language for expressing one's opinion ?

Must everything sound so sloppy ?

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March 25th, 2011, 15:53
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
It's neither mediocre nor trash. You, like most around here, simply have high standards because you hand pick the very best games that you know you're going to enjoy, which means there's a fat chance you never play games that would rate poorly.
If you mean magazine editors - then I agree.

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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March 25th, 2011, 18:24
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
DA2 may not be great, but it's definitely above average. Just check out the various threads in the DA2 forum - the general consensus seems to be "good, not great". And that comes from a series of pretty picky players.
I think you may have borrowed Laidlaw's rose-tinted spectacles if that's what you see as the general perception of the game on the forums, or anywhere else for that matter.

I've bought all Bioware games (Sonic aside) and frequented their forums for many a year, and I've never seen the forums take a dislike to one of their games in this manner or numbers.

The review is excellent, and damned amusing. Pretty much encapsulates what I feel about DA2 and the direction Bioware's going. The fact that the Bio forums aren't butthurt over a Codex review, whereas large sections of them normally froth at the mouth at the mere mention of the name Codex, suggests the game's widely disliked.
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