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Default Dragon Age 2 - Unbalanced Narrative @ Joystiq

September 2nd, 2012, 09:50
Joystiq's Rowan Kaiser has penned an editorial about the unbalanced narrative in DA2.
In it, he investigates the strength and weaknesses in DA2's narrative. A quote:
If anything, Dragon Age 2's imbalanced focus on its city is mild compared to Baldur's Gate 2's gloriously chaotic mess of side quests. From this narrative imbalance come Dragon Age 2's most commonly cited strengths as well as weaknesses. By placing the characters in a relatively static situation over time, dynamic character development is easier and more effective it's someone akin to Star Trek developing serialization when it used a sedentary space station instead of a traveling ship in Deep Space 9. So Aveline, Varric, and even Hawke herself all feel stronger than most other companions in RPGs, which especially helps Merrill in the finale of her intense questline.
A quote, then, from the article's conclusion:
It does or tries to do so many of the things I've wanted RPGs to do with their narratives for a long time, like telling a smaller story in both geography and scope, developing tragedy, and focusing on party members' stories. Yet the problems with doing those things become apparent as well, especially as the locations become tired and the narrative becomes fractured.
More information.
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September 2nd, 2012, 09:50
Yes… DA2 fails only because the story is too ambitious, not because it plays like a Diablo clone with lots of pointless running back and forth, and without loot or interactivity. 9_9;
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September 2nd, 2012, 16:12
It doesn't play like a Diablo clone. I'm not sure what you're talking about there.
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September 2nd, 2012, 19:26
DA2:s problems arent in the story though (even if the changed narrative would have caused a shitstorm if that had been the only thing they changed). It's rather easy to point to technical changes that would have turned the game from mediocre to good (getting rid of waves and offering more varied minor maps would have gone a long way).
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September 3rd, 2012, 05:07
I still can't escape the thought that it was an expansion/DLC turned into a full game and as a result kind of rushed and not fleshed out in areas.

Half of DA2 felt like it was dragging on as if I can notice how they turned a 20 hour affair into a 40 hour one.

As we've seen in the past, some amazing things can be done in expansion sized DLC that doesn't just replicate the format and theme of the main game. This could have been such a DLC, but instead I got a full game that was a dissapointment.
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September 3rd, 2012, 07:22
Well, I don't think it was an expansion turned full game. It's more like it was a full game that didn't get it's complete development cycle so areas got reused and some elements of the game were ridiculously over simplified (the reverse side-quests where you find something and magically know who wants it).
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September 3rd, 2012, 08:30
Originally Posted by Zaleukos View Post
DA2:s problems arent in the story though (even if the changed narrative would have caused a shitstorm if that had been the only thing they changed).
I respectfully disagree. DA2 had many problems within the narrative; particularly towards the conclusion of the game where role-playing choices were diluted to the point of non-existence and player agency was practically eliminated.
You were shoe-horned into a certain way of playing which in some cases, just didn't make any sense and left much to be desired.

Just look at the impressions thread here on the Watch to see what I mean.
Players picked up on these weaknesses everywhere. These issues were quite unforgivable and weakened the game from a role-playing point of view almost irrevocably.

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You've a goodly way to go.
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September 3rd, 2012, 18:29
Story is one of the issues of this game. Why waste a potentially good story on a bad game though…
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September 3rd, 2012, 21:16
Originally Posted by darkling View Post
It doesn't play like a Diablo clone. I'm not sure what you're talking about there.
meh, you click on an enemy, wait for it to die, and occasionally press hotkeys. close enough for me. diablo does have some strategy, so i'm selling it a bit short in that comparison. but i certainly think the story was DA2's strongest element. it wasn't perfect and the pacing could have been a lot better, but it certainly wasn't the crux of the issue. i guess you could say, eliminate the boring busywork and the story would have made sitting through the game worth it. but why not just fix the damn game i wonder?
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September 3rd, 2012, 21:45
I think the combat system - although a mere undead version of Origins' - was still salvageable, although on steroids and devoid of tactics by the wave spawns and lack of enemy differentiation (special powers etc). The story was a nightmarish aberration - with Anders going full emo terrorist at the end, and the two factions being presented as simply insane. Apart from some well written character lines, this game is the pits. If they're implementing the "best of DA2 and Origins" for DA3, I honestly wonder what will be carried forward from DA2, because it has no "best of".
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September 3rd, 2012, 22:47
If they were smart they would just forget about DA2 and make a real sequel to DA:O.

But who am I kidding…
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September 4th, 2012, 03:58
no kidding - FORGET DA2 ALREADY. it sucked
an abortion of a game!
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September 4th, 2012, 06:56
Hyperbole hyperbole

lol

so edgy
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September 4th, 2012, 12:24
It is undeniable that people discuss this game even now Which says a lot about its influence on role-play discussion forums

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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September 4th, 2012, 18:43
Originally Posted by Pessimeister View Post
I respectfully disagree. DA2 had many problems within the narrative; particularly towards the conclusion of the game where role-playing choices were diluted to the point of non-existence and player agency was practically eliminated.
You were shoe-horned into a certain way of playing which in some cases, just didn't make any sense and left much to be desired.

Just look at the impressions thread here on the Watch to see what I mean.
Players picked up on these weaknesses everywhere. These issues were quite unforgivable and weakened the game from a role-playing point of view almost irrevocably.
The narrative certainly had issues, but I dont think it was the worst problem of the game. The factors I mentioned would have made any game a tedium to play regardless of the quality of the writing. Those basic gameplay issues killed the game for me.

Choices and consequences were IMHO not all that much worse than the Bioware standard (faux choices that make a cosmetic difference in a largely linear game), even if they were worse than in DAO.

To me the game was a rushed destillate of the Bioware formula (the only issue that hasnt been seen in their previous titles is the wave combat, ME1 for instance had the same ridiculous map recycling), and it showed.

It will be very interesting to see how Bioware picks themselves up after damaging the DA brand so badly.
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September 5th, 2012, 08:08
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
It is undeniable that people discuss this game even now Which says a lot about its influence on role-play discussion forums
Bioware is still a giant. They know their business and how to make it thrive. Players are addicted to them, even if they claim otherwise.
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