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Default Dragon Age 2 - Jeff Vogel Review

April 17th, 2011, 03:45
Spiderweb's Jeff Vogel has reviewed Dragon Age 2 on his blog. He notes some signficant flaws and disappointments but feels it would be a "solid B- game" if taken on its own merits and not a sequel to Dragon Age: Origins.
In fact, suppose it didn't have Dragon Age in the title at all. Suppose it was called, say, "Bioware Presents: A Dude Named Hawke Buys a Big House and Has Wacky Adventures." Suppose further that EA had given Bioware the bit of extra time and budget necessary to fix the game's most notable flaws. (Dungeon layouts reused to an egregious extent. A bizarre combat system where reinforcements pop in from out of nowhere. Extreme bugginess, especially in the late game.) If this was the case, I honestly believe the result would be considered a lesser but worthy member of the Bioware canon, something pleasing to pass the time while waiting for Dragon Age II.
But that's not what happened. Dragon Age II is … well, it has "Dragon Age" in the name. It's the sequel to one of the best-written, epic, envelope-pushing RPGs pretty much ever. I game I truly loved. (If you haven't played it, why are you wasting your time reading this junk? Go get it! Go!) And there's no suger-coating the basic fact of the thing. If you got Dragon Age II expecting something more like Dragon Age: Origins, you are going to face a period of harsh disappointment.
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April 17th, 2011, 03:45
DA one of the best written RPG's ever? ehhhhh. Ok! Apart from the origin stories, how was DA anything but a variant on your typical save the world from impending_evil_01?

Bah, nevermind; I'm just so tired of people looking at Bioware through rose-tinted glasses. It's a testament to how little in the way of cRPGs there are these days.
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April 17th, 2011, 04:26
The mages vs. chantry story is very good in concept, and has some moments in DA2. It's mainly ruined by the complete lack of choice and focus on cinematic moments rather than gameplay moments.
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April 17th, 2011, 04:28
I thought DA:O was quite well written in the main. It's not actually about impending_evil_01 - maybe you went into it with an expectation because of the developer on the cover? It's about political struggle and sacrifice. Even if it was, however, that wouldn't preclude good writing.

Writing is actually one of the things that has improved with modern games - don't confuse gameplay issues with writing.

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April 17th, 2011, 04:29
The fact that Dragon Age 2 is a big failure doesn't mean that Dragon age 1 is one of the best RPG ever.
DA1 is just an average game, which took some good things from Baldur, but unfortunately removed many good ones from it too.
Anyway, unless if DA1 is one of your first RPG experiences, it can't be considered as an excellent game.
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April 17th, 2011, 05:22
Can't? Well, we disagree.

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April 17th, 2011, 06:03
The highlight of DA for me was the NPC banter. Everything else was just so… mindnumbingly… trite. It was good for a single playthrough to see how it all pans out, but the story was so predictable that I have yet to force myself past Ostagar a second time.

Anyway, we each have our expectations and preferences. It just really bugs me when people become perplexed at bioware's downturn with DA2; as though the company was on some kind of untarnished golden pedestal prior to the game's release. For me, it's all been gradually downhill since BG and this (admittedly, tiresome) backlash against the company is too little too late.
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April 17th, 2011, 08:37
Originally Posted by Risine View Post
Anyway, unless if DA1 is one of your first RPG experiences, it can't be considered as an excellent game.
If you mean as a RPG, then it is obvious. Now games can play out of their genre and display excellent qualities. Making them excellent games outside the consideration to RPG requirements.

As a RPG, DA:O was just an average game failing to achieve what the developpers claimed it would: succeeding to BG (1 and 2)

Bioware is on a downward slope when it comes to RPG since long before DA2.
Writers in DA2 wrote themselves into a corner with the mage structures. Hard to see it as an example of excellent writing.
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April 17th, 2011, 09:04
Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur View Post
If you mean as a RPG, then it is obvious. Now games can play out of their genre and display excellent qualities. Making them excellent games outside the consideration to RPG requirements.
I can see some retconning happening.

So, in what genre was DA:O an excellent game?

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April 17th, 2011, 09:55
Originally Posted by Risine View Post
Anyway, unless if DA1 is one of your first RPG experiences, it can't be considered as an excellent game.
Umm…yes it can? I like DA:O and it was by no means my first RPG in any sense of the word.
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April 17th, 2011, 11:21
I do agree that DAO tend to be over evaluated by many players but it has many great points beside its bag of flaws.

For me it is quite ahead Drakensang 1, Gothic 3, Oblivion, NWN1, NWN2, MotB, ME1, and more. I would put only few RPG above DAO in fact, perhaps 4/6. But yeah I don't qualify games that are too old for me, not even games I have a lot admiration for like Ultima Underworld but in ends they have old crap that destroy too much their gameplay now, and for me.

For BG1&BG2 too I consider many players over evaluate them, I won't argue about that, they became too much sort of legend.
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April 17th, 2011, 12:34
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
I can see some retconning happening.

So, in what genre was DA:O an excellent game?
In every genre that people can find it excellent, excluding RPG (average game in this one) and any other genre that the game can not suit (like shooter, a genre the game does not belong to)

Umm…yes it can? I like DA:O and it was by no means my first RPG in any sense of the word.
Games can be liked/disliked, enjoy or not for various causes. Liking a game does not make it a good <insert genre> game. Assessment on RPG merit and liking a game is different.
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April 17th, 2011, 13:15
BG1&BG2 are a legend and its a dying rpg genre. If I had the money I would fiance updated rpgs just like them.

DA:O was average but at least it was step in there older games and it gave me hope. Then along came DA 2 and did a complete turn around. Sure it wasn't the same and it was what they promised then they tried to soothe every one fears.

The problem I have is the story. Every choice leads to the same ending. The game is more about your companions and there choices not yours. Your just dragged along. That right there was not what was promised. It was supposed to be about your rise to power. After everything you accomplish I would think the city would be mine. Not a lame ending were you just walk away. But wait the dlc offered in small chunks will finish your story.

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April 17th, 2011, 13:18
Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur View Post
Games can be liked/disliked, enjoy or not for various causes. Liking a game does not make it a good <insert genre> game. Assessment on RPG merit and liking a game is different.
You can't asses on merit unless you have a at least semi-objective set of criteria to measure against. And since I don't know such a set for RPGs - or for any game - that is more or less agreed on I'm not able to asses on anything but my personal liking or disliking of a game. If I know I like a game than I can try to analyze it and maybe figure out why I like it.
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April 17th, 2011, 13:45
If you dont have the set of criteria, why use the term? Why use genre as a concept?
How do you do to classify a game in a genre if you dont have a set of characteristics to check against?

Nothing against the approach as long it is followed through and through. So how?
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April 17th, 2011, 13:49
Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur View Post
If you dont have the set of criteria, why use the term? Why use genre as a concept?
How do you do to classify a game in a genre if you dont have a set of characteristics to check against?

Nothing against the approach as long it is followed through and through. So how?
So, what are your criteria, then?

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April 17th, 2011, 14:04
I thought DA had horrible strategic combat; but the presentation was good and there were memorable moments. As to the story; to be honest I'm not sure I've played a game with a truely amazing story at least compared to some of the better books I've read. However, it wasn't bad and there were a few surprises. In my book DA was a 6 or 7 for mechanics (esp the poor tactical combat) and 8 or 9 for presentation. Can't comment on DA2; the reviews have turned me off so I think I'll wait for it to hit the bargin bin.

Balder gate 2 was fun (I became bored with the original near the end and never quite finished) it had better combat but the presentation was not quite as good. The story progressed well (more evenly) but didn't quite have as many memorable moments. Hum. Planescape is suppose to be better on the story side but since I havent' played it can't comment there.
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April 17th, 2011, 14:21
Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur View Post
In every genre that people can find it excellent, excluding RPG (average game in this one) and any other genre that the game can not suit (like shooter, a genre the game does not belong to)
What a pointless exercise - and you're wrong; DA:O is a good RPG.

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April 17th, 2011, 14:26
I wouldn't say DA:O is an excellent game, but it is above average. I franky think DA:A was much better than both DA:O and DA2. I would call DA:A excellent game, but way too short, even as an expansion.

As for BG2, it is a legend in my opinion (and I know many will agree with me), and I haven't played any rpg that surpasses that standard.

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April 17th, 2011, 14:45
Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur View Post
If you dont have the set of criteria, why use the term? Why use genre as a concept?
How do you do to classify a game in a genre if you dont have a set of characteristics to check against?

Nothing against the approach as long it is followed through and through. So how?
RPG does not mean the same thing to everyone, nor is there a set-in-stone list of things that make a game an RPG. This happens with other genres as well… what is an adventure game? Monkey Island or Zelda? They're pretty different. What makes a shooter? Quake, Grand Theft Auto or Metroid Prime? They're pretty different.

Genre is a rough guideline.
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