Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dragon Age 2

38 hours over three days later, I was done with my first playthrough of Dragon Age 2 and could begin on the two other necessary to explore how much freedom of choice you actually have and how much is set in stone with the illusion of choice. My impression is that it's a very well thought-out game with an engaging story and very fun game mechanics. If a little... overzealous at times.

There are a few questions. With the perceived size of the city, where the hell do they get the one hundred raiders and bandits and hunters and thieves that your group murders every night? Admittedly only a dozen nights every three years, but still. Considering the Blight, the common conflicts, and supposedly the victims of these raiders and bandits and hunters and thieves, one wonders just how large a population would be necessary to sustain them, and to breed new ones quickly enough to sate the next three years. And the same can be said of mages, somehow. There are very many mages. So many I'm wondering why they don't prance off and claim a little country of their own instead. Oh yeah, maybe because if they're all as crazy as the ones you get joining you, they'd be gnawing each others toes off within a year. No but seriously, in a normal encounter the game would throw around twenty people at you, ten of which are only there as cannon fodder, but usually there's even more. Fun maybe, but... where the hell do they all come from? And why do they keep running at you after fifteen of their sturdier friends have already tried and died?

But overall the story is good, and have successfully made its point; humans are complicated, dirty, easily breakable things that are right in many things and wrong in others, unfortunately about different things so they insist on fighting over everything.

I do miss the dialogue of the first DA, because this is Mass Effect style and a little too short-hand; I feel more like I'm playing 1-X-2 than having a conversation. Also the elves look like tiny non-blue Avatars. Do they have bones in those skinny little bodies, or just twigs? There are talents that are so obviously, incredibly much better than others that you wonder why you'd ever use a different build. The Exiled Prince DLC gives you another friend that isn't mind-numbingly crazy, contributes to a more complex choice of combat tactics, and that I'd rather have had in the base game. If you set your mind to it, every melee boss can be soloed by ranged characters running about, because melee can't hit and move at the same time and have three-second hit-animations, which feels a little silly when a dwarf with a crossbow run around a pole for fifteen minutes killing a dragon bolt-by-bolt. Or when a mage has an "honorable" duel with a badass warrior by pewing him with his staff, then running away, then pewing him again, (because sensible spells have too long cast animation) in front of an awed public. And again the Spirit Healer rocks the boots off of everything else, but that doesn't make a huge difference since it's kinda satisfyingly easy on normal, and equally fun playing all classes.

There have been laughs, but no tears, which sufficiently illustrates my level of involvement. Specifically two peak quotes that I was going to share but realized they're much better if you hear them in context, so: do Avaline's personal quests, and bring Isabela and Fenris at the same time in your party for a while. I know, Isabela is kinda useless gameplay-wise. But you shall not be dissappointed.

Wow this post is beautifully structured! Look at it! Wicked sick! I'm awesome. (Viewer satisfaction not guaranteed; depending on your screen resolution.)

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