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Dragon Age 2 Demo
  • February 2011
    Posts: 0
    It's now available for PC and console.

    I just played through the PC version, and what I saw, while very pretty, has definitely gotten a bit of the Mass Effect treatment. It's not a dumbed-down as the transition from ME1 to ME2 was, and I couldn't use the inventory system, but the chat options and menus look a little familiar.

    One of the things that was nice about Dragon Age: Origins was the expansive dialog options available, and how it wasn't a clear-cut "good", "neutral", "evil" option set. Well, that's gone away. The Mass Effect dialog wheel has replaced it, with the variants, from what I could tell, being "Friend", "Neutral", "Rival". Yeah.

    Combat's a mixed bag, and not having access to more than a half hour of play time makes it tricky to decide if the changes are better or not yet. I can tell you that combat looks much better. The characters have much more animated and fluid animations, and even autoattacks look amazing now. But a lot of combat abilities were locked out, so I don't know, for example, if stuff like poisons have managed to make it through to the sequel.

    Still definitely getting the game.
  • EugeneEugene February 2011
    Posts: 1,684
    I largely agree, espeically with the "getting the game" part. But the demo definitely scared me. So damned linear! I don't play many demos, though, maybe they're all like that. I agree about the dialog options being dumbed down and ME2-like, but I think you may be overstating it a bit. The options were generally "doplimatic" on top, "roguish prankster" in the middle, and "pragmatist" on the bottom, which is already a reasonable departure from the ME2 system. But also, not all the trees fell into this pattern, unlike ME2. Most important of all, though, they appear to have kept the NPC-based influence ratings rather than an overall character paragon/renegade rating.

    The biggest problem with ME2's system is that the idealistic/neutral/pragmatic breakdown was completely irrelevant when it comes to interactions with other characters. It's like a sort of dialog madlibs. You fill in Shephard's lines but everyone else's are all pre-written. Sure, they might respond differently to what Shepard says, but that's just to make sure the conversation makes sense. It doesn't change how the character treats Shepard in the future... all the NPCs inevitably love Shephard. The ONLY time in the game where this isn't completely true is with romances and at the end of the game, where you need to secure the character's loyalty... which is GUARANTEED for most characters as long as you do their loyalty quest, regardless of what you do during the mission. Tali is the most glaring exception, which also makes her the most interesting character. Your choices aboard her flotilla ship (forgot its name) have a real consequence on her loyalty. Mind you, the game largely renders even this small concession moot by only having the loyalty flag matter if you're planning on romancing the character and for the suicide mission.

    The original Dragon Age was so awesome to me precisely because you can literally LOSE THE GAME because you can have almost no one in your party, since they hate you so much they will leave. Or in some cases, you can actually KILL your own party members because they disagree with you so strongly that they're willing to die for their beliefs. That's a real character, not the ME2 cardboard-cutouts.

    Nothing in the demo makes me believe that they've dropped this important distinction, but I do agree that the dumbing down of the dialog trees is lamentable.

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