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March 12th, 2011, 18:09
Originally Posted by DoctorNarrative View Post
It's got a solid tactical base on hard mode
Yeah. Abilities are pretty varied, companions having their special skill tree is a nice touch (though itīs badly balanced since Avelineīs and Andersī are much, much more useful than othersī), cross class combos are interesting and some changes on nightmare are pretty cool (some others arenīt though, FF for melee attacks grossly limits party composition, enemy rogues bypassing armor when attacking from stealth is totally unfair since thereīs no detect invisible spell or such in the game, etc).

That said, as Iīve already mentioned few times, the overall speed, limited camera and horrendously unprecise targeting play very strongly against tactical approach.
On top of that, encounter design is repetitive ad absurdum and thereīs the constantly used waves thing (adding new enemies to an ongoing encounter can work well when used sparsely - it surprises player, messes up with his resource management and so on, but when used constantly thereīs no surprise, only tedium).
As a result, on higher difficulties the game becomes incredibly tedious fast and I canīt recommend playing the game that way, maybe just ramp it up to nightmare for boss fights which is what I ended up doing.

Personally, I think that many people stating they enjoy the combat just havenīt played much of the game yet, it really becomes more and more repetitive as time goes. And that goes for other aspects as well (running around boxy Kirkwall gets old, quests are formally almost always the same, etc).

I forced myself to finish the first act in dubious hope the game gets more interesting afterwards, but itīs still the same shit - heaps of uninspired side quests which play out in same old copy pasted areas, no unifying plot to speak of, the city barely changes after the 3 year jump and so on. Even the Fade section was a copy pasted area. I doubt Iīll ever finish this.

As for my "tactics", I played as a rogue and because I started on nightmare, dual wield was out of question, thus I played an archer.
Friendly fire for melee attacks wasnīt a good decision since it very strongly dictates party composition - playing with any combo other than 1 tank + 3 ranged is a pain.
Other problem on both higher difficulties are inflated enemy HP/resistances which, at least in the first third of the game, make encounters last unnecessarily long.
The wave mechanic makes average encounter time even longer and on top of that messes with threat management. As a result, fighting opponents in the same area theyīve "spawned" in is pretty much impossible rather often and the only viable "strategy" is to retreat in a different area and fight them there (new waves are set to spawn in the initial area, not in the proximity of player).
Early Iīve discovered that for some reason the offensive spells in the primal tree donīt cause friendly fire which makes them a must on nightmare.
But as I said, I highly donīt recommend playing the game on hard/nightmare other than maybe for boss fights, for the above mentioned reasons.

Few things Iīve found useful (mostly regardless of difficulty settings):

- primal spell tree
It has a defensive spell (rock armor), two area offensives and a paralyze spell (petrify) which works on almost everyone. On top of that, upgraded versions of 3 spells provide all 3 cross class combo states (brittle, disorient, stagger), so maxing this tree for whoever has access to it seems like a smart thing to do.
Upgraded petrify is a great time saver against those boss enemies who have shitload of HP and drink potions, especially if you have someone who can take an advantage of the brittle state - both Varric and my character have maxed archery trees and upgraded punishing lance can do exactly that, for example, and using both against a petrified miniboss usually killed him outright even on nightmare.

- Anders
Has access to primal tree and his personal tree contains the most useful healing spells in the game (panacea, regroup, aid allies). For more difficult scenarios heīs pretty much a must and Bioware obviously wanted everyone to play with him.

- Aveline
Easily the best tank in the game and Iīm quite sure even better than a pc character designed for the same role.
The reasons being her personal tree, more specifically immovable, indomitable and thick skin and her personal armor. At least on higher difficulties also a must and much better than Fenris (who looks ridiculous anyway) since sheīs a lot more durable.

- donīt ever invest in cunning for characters other than rogues
It may seem that investing into cunning for some non-rogue characters may be useful due to defense bonus but since defense scales with enemy rank, itīs always better to invest into constitution on which enemy rank has no bearing.
Speaking of which, investing some points into constitution for mage companions
is useful - unlike pc they canīt change armor and thus arenīt restricted by 2 attribute requirements. Skimping on points in magic isnīt viable because weapons have magic requirements and damage is important, but willpower isnīt that crucial.

- in general itīs better to specialize than to spread points across different trees, mainly because upgrades make abilities quite a bit more useful and are needed for cross class combos

Originally Posted by DoctorNarrative View Post
I'm about to finish chapter one after about 20 hours.
The end of chapter 1 was one of few highpoints of the game for me - the boss encounter there is rather arcade-y, but cool nevertheless and on hard provides quite a solid (and interesting) challenge.

Originally Posted by DoctorNarrative View Post
though probably Bioware's worst game
Iīm quite sure it is, though I even wouldnīt say itīs a good game.
DA:O was such a promising start itīs a real pity the series were taken in different direction, but even when not taking this into account DA2 is a weak game on its own imo.
Last edited by DeepO; March 13th, 2011 at 05:51.
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