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Default Dragon Age 2 - Mark of the Assassin Reviews

October 16th, 2011, 14:26
Time for a small roundup of Mark of the Assassin reviews.
First, GameSpot goes for a moderate 7/10:
The newest Dragon Age II downloadable add-on bears more than a passing resemblance to another slice of content from developer BioWare: the Kasumi - Stolen Memory add-on for Mass Effect 2. In both, a stealthy assassin joins your party. In both, you mingle among socialites at a fancy party. Both are also heist missions in which you steal a valuable object from your host's vault. BioWare seems to be drawing its ideas from a progressively shallower well, but the good news for Dragon Age II fans is that Mark of the Assassin is more satisfying than the game's previous premium download. It introduces a new and personable party member named Tallis, whose charming attitude gives the adventure a pleasant, buoyant vibe. A buggy stealth sequence lands with a thud, but the game recovers, presenting you with a tantalizing choice and concluding with an easy but entertaining boss battle.
Ripten also goes for 7/10:
MotA is a more light-hearted romp compared to Legacy, though you will learn considerably more about the Qunari and their beliefs, which adds some weight to the proceedings. The new loot is fairly decent, although I didn’t find any real use for it considering my party was already kitted out in similar and sometimes better gear. There’s also an extended sequence wherein you can sneak around the chateau, distracting and clobbering guards, if you enjoy a little variation in your gameplay. Alternatively, you can just wander around the old fashioned way, killing everyone you come across. Finally, MotA adds a few more puzzles for players to set their wits against, although they’re not particularly difficult.
Over at GamesRadar, the score is 8/10 despite some complaints:
Even with the strong story and varied gameplay, Mark of the Assassin is not without some sigh-worthy weaknesses. There are just two new enemies (only one of which is remarkable enough to provide any sort of challenge), and the rest are the same token baddies fought in wide open (read: boring) spaces. There’s also a bit too much wandering along invisible borders of familiar wilderness sections picking up meaningless, invisible side quest materials. That kind of gameplay is pure filler, and BioWare does little to mask it.
While the stealth sections are a welcome respite from the repetitive combat, BioWare’s not exactly encroaching on Splinter Cell territory. Guards are ridiculously stupid: they can’t see in anything less than direct torchlight, have small cones of awareness, and will attribute your beating them unconscious to simply passing out from the heat of their armor. Still, even if these sections should have been better, we can’t emphasize enough how relieved we were to have something different.
7/10 from fansite Greywardens:
I feel like Mark of the Assassin had some good pieces in place, but they didn’t really just come together in the right way. The new features like Tallis’ fighting style and the stealth mode seemed good on paper but didn’t really work out well in the game. The story has it’s moments but it felt like BioWare was really trying to carry this DLC on Day’s star power as opposed to its own merits.
TheControllerOnline - 8/10
GamingAddiction - 4/5
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October 16th, 2011, 14:26
I'm 2 hours into it at the moment. The new areas are really nice looking and the battles, like in Legacy, are actually designed this time and much more well done.

If your issues with DA2 were the speed and style then the DLC changes nothing, but in the areas of repeated content, designed battles and story I think the DLCs are very well done. Legacy has an entirely different ending level depending on choices you made.

My main issue with MotA right now is that it forces a dual-wield rogue on you for thr whole thing and my main character is a dual-wield rogue, so now I have two of them.
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October 16th, 2011, 19:55
I read that both Legacy and MotA are pretty good DLC's for DA2. Personally though, i disliked DA2 as a whole. There are so many things that were done wrong in it, that it's hard for me to put them all down on "paper" when i talk about this game.

One thing that really makes both the main game and any future DLC not working for me is the speed of the combat. Not just that the animations are weird and lightning fast, but also the fact that my characters attack like possessed by a demon and jumping around the battlefield, while the enemies attack in normal DA:O speed. That is a major turn off for me. It makes the game so "unrealistic". What is the point really.
FF combat just for the sake of speed and "awesomeness", as Bioware said…….
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October 16th, 2011, 23:39
I lost interest in DA2. It is a horrible dumbed down game(in every aspect). I call it just a game. Because it is certainly not an RPG. Of course it is a disgrace to its predecessor. Even Bioware is admitting that the game did not came out write and they even don't like it. Hmm…funny. Right?
But Bioware is not the only one to blame. I blame EA of course. Capitalist bloodthirsty f….. Oh whatever. The worst part is that it has good reviews. Hmm…paid maybe?? Maybe not. But players cannot be that blind. Wright? Just say it it is bad. And get on with our lives.
I apologize for ranting. I usually do not write negative feed backs. On any forums(I am new here). But, I do have the right for my own opinion. Just like everybody else.
I do target DA2,because it is hyped to the sky. No! It's not that good!
I love older Biowere games and do support them. But,hey! Even they can make bad games. And who ever likes it. Well. Good luck with that. And I'm glad that someone can enjoy it.
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October 17th, 2011, 03:07
"Hyped to the sky"? The most criticized Bioware game ever? The game that it seems the world has united against as atrocious? You're taking the popular stance.
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October 17th, 2011, 05:28
Originally Posted by Black Rune View Post
Because it is certainly not an RPG.
Oh God, here we go again!

Insert usual "What's an RPG?" arguments…
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October 17th, 2011, 07:37
Originally Posted by Giovanni1983 View Post
I read that both Legacy and MotA are pretty good DLC's for DA2. Personally though, i disliked DA2 as a whole. There are so many things that were done wrong in it, that it's hard for me to put them all down on "paper" when i talk about this game.

One thing that really makes both the main game and any future DLC not working for me is the speed of the combat. Not just that the animations are weird and lightning fast, but also the fact that my characters attack like possessed by a demon and jumping around the battlefield, while the enemies attack in normal DA:O speed. That is a major turn off for me. It makes the game so "unrealistic". What is the point really.
FF combat just for the sake of speed and "awesomeness", as Bioware said…….
I love the speed. Take the tactics of games like BG2 and DA:O and make it fast and exciting? Yes please.
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October 17th, 2011, 09:45
It had the tactics of BG2? Uhh, no, not for me sorry. Not even close. DA2 was an amphetamine fueled caffeine junkie's joy and for me, would often just play itself.

In contrast, try going through the motions against some of the mage fights in BG2 (or Kangaxx or even Demogorgon) and you'll end up dead. Even Icewind Dale had more tactical versatility, challenge and depth than DA2. These apologist attempts to prove otherwise are just doomed to fail.
Try blockading a doorway in DA2 (you'll fail) and then compare what happens if you did the same thing in BG2 to see just one simple, yet blatant contrast in tactical possibilities.

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October 17th, 2011, 15:33
Did you play DA2 on hard? Hard was specifically designed for tactical play while normal was designed for mindless button mashing.
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October 17th, 2011, 19:17
Yes because we all know that cranking up the HP and damage of the enemies is the best way to make a game "tactical".
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October 17th, 2011, 19:21
Originally Posted by Motoki View Post
Yes because we all know that cranking up the HP and damage of the enemies is the best way to make a game "tactical".
Please refrain from assuming stuff about games/modes you didn't play, or from hyperbole. Thanks.
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October 17th, 2011, 20:06
Originally Posted by DoctorNarrative View Post
Please refrain from assuming stuff about games/modes you didn't play, or from hyperbole. Thanks.
Please refrain from assuming you know what games/modes people played.
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October 17th, 2011, 21:41
Originally Posted by Motoki View Post
Please refrain from assuming you know what games/modes people played.
Since you displayed your ignorance by saying only enemy HP and damage were effected, it was not an assumption.
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October 18th, 2011, 02:42
Man, it's the two Ronnies! Can't you guys contain yourselves to the other thread? Actually, don't. It's too funny. Really, don't stop on our part.

Anyway, no, I didn't play DA2 on hard. Shame on me eh? To be honest, I felt no reason to artificially inflate the difficulty of combat of a game that I already wasn't enjoying very much. Guess I'm one of these slow-pokes who prefers a more deliberate, reflective combat experience rather than the sommersaulting over the top, action obsessed nonsense. But to continue the argument at hand, off the top of my head:

Two more simple tactical differences from BG2 to DA2:

- BG2 has more characters possible for a party, therefore logically, more tactical possibilities open to the player in party make up and strategical vision. That's not hard to undestand and it's a fact, thus not subjective.
- There are far more spells in BG2. Fact. Not subjective.
Bringing down enemy mages often took a little bit of care, especially if they were well buffed with protections.

The two games originate from quite different branches of the same family tree, even if superficially they share similarities from their respective genre.
One is designed for quick consumption like junk food and to be played at a frantically forgettable pace, the other to be digested more slowly and with a greater degree of consideration. For me that meant the experience was not only more easy to enjoy and savor, but also the more memorable.

Diddledy high,
Diddledy low,
Come brave blood sheep,
You've a goodly way to go.
- Brilhasti Ap Tarj
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October 18th, 2011, 02:56
Originally Posted by Pessimeister View Post
Anyway, no, I didn't play DA2 on hard. Shame on me eh? To be honest, I felt no reason to artificially inflate the difficulty of combat of a game that I already wasn't enjoying very much. Guess I'm one of these slow-pokes who prefers a more deliberate, reflective combat experience rather than the sommersaulting over the top, action obsessed nonsense.
If you don't like the animation style and such then there's not much to say about that. I personally like it, it's fantasy and not a sim. In any case the game clearly tells you that if you want to play tactically and manage your party you should play on hard. Normal mode was made for just controlling Hawke.

Originally Posted by Pessimeister View Post
But to continue the argument at hand, off the top of my head:

Two more simple tactical differences from BG2 to DA2:

- BG2 has more characters possible for a party, therefore logically, more tactical possibilities open to the player in party make up and strategical vision. That's not hard to undestand and it's a fact, thus not subjective.
- There are far more spells in BG2. Fact. Not subjective.
Bringing down enemy mages often took a little bit of care, especially if they were well buffed with protections.
Differences indeed, yes. Neither of them make the games not the same style of RPG though, which is what I said they were (in the other thread).

Originally Posted by Pessimeister View Post
The two games originate from quite different branches of the same family tree, even if superficially they share similarities from their respective genre.
One is designed for quick consumption like junk food and to be played at a frantically forgettable pace, the other to be digested more slowly and with a greater degree of consideration. For me that meant the experience was not only more easy to enjoy and savor, but also the more memorable.
There's some truth to this, DA2's tactics are more about reacting to situations than pre-planning. I don't think the difference is anywhere near the level you and others ascribe to it however. I think most of those opinions are rooted in not liking the speed and animation style and playing the game on normal.
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October 18th, 2011, 06:02
Note that I'm not taking Motoki's position or replying here about the other thread. I'll let you guys continue to duke that one out.

I was just responding quite specifically to your "DA2 has the tactics of BG2" claim and showing in a straight forward manner (using facts) where I think that statement is inaccurate, and offering a couple reasons for why BG2 exceeds DA2 in tactical sense. Nothing more, nothing less.
Originally Posted by DoctorNarrative View Post
If you don't like the animation style and such then there's not much to say about that. I personally like it, it's fantasy and not a sim.
Not sure where you're pulling the animation style red herring from, I certainly didn't mention liking or disliking it. I'm more apathetic about it actually - it's the excessive action flashiness and theatrics I referred to, not the animation style itself. As for the sim line, well, it's not as if "sim" and "fantasy" are necessarily exclusive concepts. but ok.
Originally Posted by DoctorNarrative View Post
Differences indeed, yes. Neither of them make the games not the same style of RPG though, which is what I said they were (in the other thread).
Sure, but that's not what I was arguing in that part of my post. See second parargraph above.
Originally Posted by DoctorNarrative View Post
DA2's tactics are more about reacting to situations than pre-planning.
Likewise with BG2, if not more so.
I think quite a few posters here reported that they felt the DA2 encounters relied too much upon themes of attrition (merely surviving is enough) and the ridiculous magically appearing out of thin air, parachuting trash mobs. This was similar to my own experience, but if the Hard difficulty as you say improves the combat experience tactically, then all the better for those that enjoy its combat system I guess.

My reasons for generally disliking the game are my own and are well documented in the impressions thread here on the 'Watch. But personally, I think BG2 will endure. Unfortunately, I think DA2 is likely to be largely forgotten.

Diddledy high,
Diddledy low,
Come brave blood sheep,
You've a goodly way to go.
- Brilhasti Ap Tarj
Last edited by Pessimeister; October 18th, 2011 at 06:22.
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October 18th, 2011, 06:48
Imo the biggest tactical blunder of da2 is the fact that you can't hide in shadows and scout ahead. That's the primary way i've played party based fantasy rpg's in the past and I really miss that. Scouting ahead and then planning a direct assault, lure the monsters in to an ambush such as traps or grease, then fire, then arrows to death or sneak a mage in to bomb them with spells. none of that can be done in da2.

Only having 3 classes also hurts especially with the weapon restrictions making them even more rigid and one dimensional. This was also a problem in dao but I was able to forgive it because of other customization aspects. Such as the ability to sneak (can you tell I missed that) and the customizable skills. I know many thought they were useless but I found them quite useful and it was a good way to differently your characters even 2 rouges could be built differently in the same party.

I did play da2 on hard and found you had to pause more because of increased damage but pausing more didn't change my tactics except for healing more often. I also found the best tactic for me was to bind my guys together so they'd move as one. That way my caster could spam the area with spells (no friendly fire and no I didn't try nightmare.)and when enemies warped in by my caster I could mop them up. It also was the only way I could do the fight where you had to hide behind the pillars controlling them separately was too hard.

I'm sorry. i'm glad you liked the game, wish I could have but the tactics just weren't there.
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October 18th, 2011, 06:55
Originally Posted by Pessimeister View Post
Not sure where you're pulling the animation style red herring from, I certainly didn't mention liking or disliking it. I'm more apathetic about it actually - it's the excessive action flashiness and theatrics I referred to, not the animation style itself. As for the sim line, well, it's not as if "sim" and "fantasy" are necessarily exclusive concepts. but ok.
I count the general speed and combat moves in the combat as animation style. The leaping over enemies, roundhouse kicks, etc. As for the sim comment, what I mean is I am not looking for realism in my fantasy games necessarily. I like the flashier moves, they're exciting. I thought DA:O was kind of plodding, where rogues shuffled into place and then just hacked away like a fighter.

If it changed the gameplay significantly then I might not like it, but in my opinion it doesn't. It's faster, you have to pause more to keep up if you're micromanaging, but the gameplay is pretty identical functionally.

Originally Posted by Pessimeister View Post
I think quite a few posters here reported that they felt the DA2 encounters relied too much upon themes of attrition (merely surviving is enough) and the ridiculous magically appearing out of thin air, parachuting trash mobs. This was similar to my own experience, but if the Hard difficulty as you say improves the combat experience tactically, then all the better for those that enjoy its combat system I guess.
It's important to note the difference between feeling the game has some flaws yet is still enjoyable and feeling the game is a piece of crap. It seems like on the internet that vast middleground gets lost and people act like you can either love a game and be a defender or hate a game and be a basher. I am neither with DA2.

I liked the new visual look of the game. I liked the general story and the focus on mage persecution. I liked the faster combat animations and pace. I liked the new skill trees and general menu design.

I did not like the spawning enemies, which often threw off your tactics mid-fight. I did not like the repeated content. I did not like the fact you could not fully equip companions. I did not like the lack of real consequences from your choices.

What's important to note and very on-topic is that the DLC fixes ALL those negatives except companion equipment (which they said will be back to normal for the next game). That tells me Bioware are listening and making better content, since my dislikes were the same as most others'. The DLC is vastly improved and a really enjoyable experience. The two of them took me 12 hours to go through and it was solid from front to back.

If you disliked the entire style of the game then you're not going to be swayed by the DLC. Honestly you probably won't like DA3 either, since the general style of the game was praised for the most part and they are sticking with it.
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October 18th, 2011, 07:01
I hoped that these DA2 debates were finally finished! I think that the most fair description of DA2's combat would be to call it a hack n' slash game with tactical elements. It's certainly not on the brainless side of Diablo's "clicky-click-click-click-click-loot!" but it's also not what I would consider a deep tactical experience either. I tried playing it on hard, as rumor had it this would miraculously turn the game into something more tactical , but it really doesn't; at least, not in a satisfying way.

Basically, there are two ways to increase the challenge of a game: One is to artificially bloat the HP of the game's enemies, making them "harder" to kill, and the other is to intelligently design combat scenarios that force the player to use the different tactics/abilities at their disposal in a cerebral way. DA2 on hard takes the former approach. The game is more challenging, but not in the "right" way. When all of the enemies' HP is increased, this does not magically change the mechanics of the game, it just forces combat into a "grinding" scenario. Yes, this does require micro-management of the party on a basic level, but not in what I would consider a satisfying way. The only tactic involved is to keep your party-members alive long enough to continuously hack away at the extended life-bar of opponents, leading to a dull and frustrating experience, not a truly tactical one where the right usage of abilities and intelligent strategy wins the day.
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October 18th, 2011, 18:03
I honestly question whether anyone who calls DA2 hack n' slash on any level has ever played the game, or has ever played a hack n' slash game. It's just pure insanity to compare DA2 to God of War.

My opinion.
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