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Default Dragon Age - Preview @ G4TV

May 12th, 2009, 15:48
G4TV serves up hands-on impressions of Dragon Age from a previewer who likens it to "old" RPGs like World of Warcraft:
While Dragon Age looks to be an action RPG, it is not a hack & slash intensive one. Or rather, it doesnt work as one. Like all actions, combat is done through the mouse. You point the cursor at an enemy and click the right mouse button, and your character does whatever attack youve chosen from the bottom buttons.

But while this works well if youre shooting an arrow or casting a spell, its not as effective when youre wielding a sword or other melee weapon. It still works the same, its just that if youre close enough to hack someone, then theyre close enough to slash you, and in this game, these actions dont come as fast and furious as in most action games; the swinging doesnt keep up with your button mashing. As a result, sword fights typically play out as such: you smack a guy, he smacks you, you smack a guy, he smacks you, and whoever is stronger and/or has the better melee weapon wins. Granted, its not as polite (read: dull) as a turn-based RPG, but for someone who likes to mash buttons as much as mash potatoes, its frustrating.
More information.
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May 12th, 2009, 15:48
the swinging doesnt keep up with your button mashing.
Oh noes!!!!
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May 12th, 2009, 15:52
What? This summary reads exactly like a troll! How can any mainstream gaming website be this uninformed? Or maybe BioWare really *did* mess this up badly?

For starters, the layout of the HUD was very classic PC adventure game style, with rows of small buttons
Oh, brother…

Still, we’re curious to see how it plays — even more so on the 360 and PS3 than the PC
And there we have it.
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May 12th, 2009, 15:54
WoW = old RPG?

Looks like this person is the perfect guy to preview a supposedly "hardcore" CRPG.
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May 12th, 2009, 16:22
Eh eh eh. This guy at G4TV is really a CRPG expert!
THE TRUTH BEHIND THE SCENES: after starting a Sacred 2 game session hiding the start menu, somebody told him he was playing the Dragon Age demo.

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May 12th, 2009, 16:28
The more I hear about this game, the better I like it.
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May 12th, 2009, 17:38
Button mashing is listed as a positive trait? (which DA doesn't have in melee combat) I guess everyone likes different things (that's my way of saying sheesh).
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May 12th, 2009, 18:06
I guess the newest trailer will spun more of similar articles .
Marketing, previews and interviews surrounding this game are so all over the place that Im somewhat starting to feel sorry for the whole thing.
And Im also looking forward to it. Im sure it will be fun, intended or not.
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May 12th, 2009, 18:18
-ehm-

Dragon Age, is last time, I checked, still not an action game - although the recently released trailer certainly makes it appear to be exactly that - it is (still) an traditional rpg, also in its combat-sequences.

I guess the Bioware devs. decided to go for making melee combat as realistic as possible in DA: Orgins. This actually means that a sword fight will play out like a real swordfight did in medieval times on the battleground. And yes, he who is stronger or has better weapons will win - just like in medieval times.

And this is why I do think Bioware's latest trailer advertising this trailer weren't a great idea. I mean, this guy apparently thinks that DA is some kind of action game?
Based on what happened when Fallout 3 and Mass Effect I will guess that many action gamers and fps gamers will flock to the Bioware DA forums and complain about (mostly) the combat and (maybe) the booring dialogue…

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May 12th, 2009, 18:52
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
WoW = old RPG?

Looks like this person is the perfect guy to preview a supposedly "hardcore" CRPG.
Yeah I thought the same thing when I read that. And when I played Ultima II back in the early 80s on my Apple II computer, I could see the dinasaurs grazing the plants outside my window.

If I'm right but there is no wife around to acknowledge it, am I still right?
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May 12th, 2009, 20:15
"How can any mainstream gaming website be this uninformed?"

I assume you don't watch G4. It is the "Idiocracy" Entertainment Network. With the exception of one or two review editors, they generally are completely braindead on games and gaming history. However, they do have hawt chickz, rad robots, and rockin' youtube vids for the W1N!
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May 12th, 2009, 23:01
I wounder how long it will take game developer to realise that almost all weapon based combat is not about exchanging blows……………
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May 13th, 2009, 02:05
g4tv…
as usal an perfect source for douchebaggery
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May 13th, 2009, 02:14
Originally Posted by DeepO View Post
I guess the newest trailer will spun more of similar articles .
Marketing, previews and interviews surrounding this game are so all over the place that Im somewhat starting to feel sorry for the whole thing.
And Im also looking forward to it. Im sure it will be fun, intended or not.
That was my thought - they are marketing it to twitcheriffic kiddies who will be appalled about the non-actiony combat.

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May 13th, 2009, 02:32
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
That was my thought - they are marketing it to twitcheriffic kiddies who will be appalled about the non-actiony combat.
Bingo! This is the other side of their double-edged marketing sword, although it's appalling some of those kiddies are mainstream game journos.

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May 13th, 2009, 04:00
There you go, everyone who was put off by the trailer, this must surely restore your confidence! If the moron-action-kids can't quite comprehend the game, it mustn't be completely dumbed-down. And the action doen't keep up with his button-mashing, maybe there is some thought into the combat after all
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May 13th, 2009, 05:37
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
I wounder how long it will take game developer to realise that almost all weapon based combat is not about exchanging blows……………
It's not a matter of realizing it. It's a matter of animation budget and AI constraints. Early versions of Dragon Age had a very… insert hype-y word… combat animation style, where people were blocking, catching things on shields, and whatnot, in a ways that looked incredibly impressive. Here's why that turned out to be a bad idea:

1) Those great animations looked nice if you zoomed in, but nobody zoomed in when they were actually playing the game, so all that beautiful work? Wasted.

2) Those great animations only worked when you were fighting one person. As soon as it became you against two guys, the pretty animation trees of blocking and parrying and countering didn't work, because you'd be blocking and countering while someone else attacked you, and you'd either have to react to that OR you'd have to just ignore it, which would look even worse, since the viewer was set up to expect realistic melee combat.

3) Those great animations dramatically limited the weapon choices and enemy types. As soon as you get people saying "Well, we had to cut this (weapon) / (monster) because we couldn't get axe-and-shield combat looking good with it," you have to ask which is more valuable — an animation nobody is going to see, or an additional unique creature?

4) As soon as you add in things like shields and the type of armor you're wearing, the animation gets more complex. As I understand it, when you fight in heavy armor or with a heavy shield, you're not so much worried about the dodge as you are the glance — you don't need the enemy to completely miss you, just reduce a direct hit with an impact weapon to a blow that skitters off the side of the armor or shield. Having somebody acrobatically dodge in plate armor looked bad. Having somebody block a greatsword swing with a tiny wooden wrist bracer looked bad. Trying to figure out what animation to use if someone was wearing plate armor and using a tiny wooden wrist bracer starts to make people bleed from the ears.

I'm not saying that these issues weren't solvable, but Dragon Age isn't, as others have noted, an action RPG. It's an RPG. The focus isn't on creating something that is either hyper-realistic or even action-movie-choreography realistic. Doing that would take time and money that the animators could instead be using to make more monsters and more weapon types.
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May 13th, 2009, 07:46
That's actually a damn good explanation why The Witcher went with one single weapon and one single armor, and mostly humanoid monsters.

I'm glad you didn't, by the way — I loved The Witcher and will get seriously upset if CDP goes belly-up and never produces a sequel, but I wouldn't want every game to play like The Witcher.

Looking forward to this more by the day.
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May 13th, 2009, 08:12
Yes, thanks for the explanation, PatrickWeekes. I think Bioware has been working on how to make the graphics of real time tactical combat more believable in such works as Mass Effect and especially, Jade Empire since their first console platform release, Knight of the Old Republic. So, I was wondering why Bioware didn't seem to have put too much effort to Dragon Age in this area. In fact, Gameplay videos so far showed the ugliness/unnaturalness of the combat especially when zoomed in, which has been pointed out by quite many action gamers although their vocabulary is often rather limited as you see in this example. Especially in the violence trailer, the poor engine for RT tactical combat seems to be trying too hard in making the game look like an action game but it undeniably showed the weakness in graphic area, which made the trailer look even more awkward and "tasteless", IMO.

While a game like the Witcher was more focused on the consistency and presentation of the world/story-telling and the graphics are designed in its way, better or worse, which would depend on how you see it, Bioware tends to give game-plays the priority. Among the recent games of Bioware, Dragon Age's gameplay seems to fit my taste best (even though I've gotten an impression that some parts of content such as story wouldn't do the same), so, in my case, their choice in this area is welcome.

Bioware's (or should I say, EA?) marketing felt rather problematic, though. I think Dragon Age needed to attract as much as attention possible especially before the upcoming events, but I think something like the violence trailer is rather confusing for its potential players and even non-players such as Mr. "reviewer" at G4TV here. This is O.K. to my part since I regularly do my "research" on games I'm interested in just like I normally do before shopping and Dragon Age was not an exception. However, I think I'm rather minority.
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May 13th, 2009, 10:32
It's not a matter of realizing it. It's a matter of animation budget and AI constraints. Early versions of Dragon Age had a very… insert hype-y word… combat animation style, where people were blocking, catching things on shields, and whatnot, in a ways that looked incredibly impressive. Here's why that turned out to be a bad idea:
Thank you Patrick, I am very happy with your response, as for me gameplay is much more important than graphics, so I want to applaud you are not using resources on extravaganza graphics and focus on gameplay instead.

However my point when I wrote this was not only purely graphical, I also think the gameplay should reflect this fact more, in both turn based and action games. I guess the model bioware uses is the most unsuitable for this though, since you have to wait for each blow, if very few would be a hit people might get bored after waiting so long just to see a parry or a deflect.
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