Tweak It: Dragon Age II

Last time out we asked how you would tweak the PlayStation Move. It seems that you are broadly satisfied with the PlayStation Move controller itself. The most common comment was that there just aren’t enough compelling Move games being released. I can understand that as my own Moves only come out to play Tumble, Top Darts and Sports Champions still; not exactly the latest PS Move titles.

The other component parts of the PlayStation Move ‘system’, the PS Eye and the Navigation Controller, have more room for improvement. The PS Eye came under fire for its poor image quality under low light conditions and its sub-HD nature (2ofclubs, cc_star, Tuffcub, naiyo) and the Navigation Controller for its curious omission of motion control (naiyo).

The other PlayStation Move ‘system’ issue that you raised (naiyo, McProley) was the calibration, which is inconsistent and has to be done too frequently and at the XMB as well as in-game.

For such a kind-hearted, soft-spoken character Bethany sure does like to flambé her opponents.

Dragon Age II came in for a awful lot of criticism ahead of its release from those who were concerned at the changes BioWare had chosen to make to their fantasy RPG. The game they delivered was certainly not Dragon Age Origins II but a few minor gripes aside they still in my opinion delivered a great BioWare RPG experience.

Dragon Age II adopted a new art style that was able to take advantage of the graphical upgrades to the made to the game engine since Origin’s development. It borrowed the characterisation and dialogue wheel from Mass Effect and centred the action on a single city state, Kirkwall, rather than an entire country, Ferelden.

However, it was the combat system that came in for the harshest criticism from fans of Origins who saw the early presentations from BioWare of the new combat system as dumbing it down, especially on the PC. While I played Origins on PC and PS3 I have only played DAII on the two consoles so I am interested to hear what PC players thought.

Once the patch landed that removed the necessity to keep hitting the ‘attack’ button to keep the attacks flowing against a targeted enemy combat returned, for me at least, more or less to how it had been in Origins. There are still a few things I would tweak about the game though:

  • More variety in interior locations. I got fed up of the countless return visits to the same cave interior or redressed manor/brothel when they are supposed to be in entirely different locations.
  • New waves of enemies jumping from the rooftops all the time is just silly.
  • Why not let us see an objects properties before we have to find space for it in our inventory. When my backpack’s full I don’t want to have to remove something just so I can find out that the Amulet of Awesomeness we’ve just found is actually nothing of the sort.
  • Get rid of the cross-class combos from combat. I don’t want to be effectively forced to have each class represented in my party if I want to take advantage of the most powerful attacks. I prefer a party of rogues and mages which means a lot of their best attacks are hamstrung as there’s no one around to ‘stagger’ an opponent.

That’s what I’d like to see tweaked by the time the next Dragon Age game is released. How about you?

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20 Comments

  1. Try changing pretty much everything in the game, bring back the characters from the original, and maybe it’ll get somwhere…
    The first game holds a very special place in both my heart and gaming collection, can’t believe how much they bastardised the sequel.

    • Agree mate the first is way better :)
      And they had a lot of missed opportunities…
      (we can only hope dragon age 3 will become awesome wishful thinking)

  2. I would get rid of the dialogue wheel as it is very linear and doesn’t offer you much choice. I would revert back to the silent protagianst and the dialogue tree as you can see what your character could say.

    I would also make the story start in Lothering and use that as a tutorial with a cameo of The Warden’s party. For example, you could see/hear Morrigan and Alistar having one of their banters whilst doing an errand. I would also cover the years in between acts in the form of some quests. For example, If Hawke joined the mercenaries, a few quests to cover the year.

    I would also include 3 Origins and change the story so that it was either a Human or a Dwarf Or a Elf who became the Champ of Krikwall. For example, the Dwarf could be of a merchant family and helps them to get to kirkwall.

    I would slow down the combat and change it. As it is too OTT. There is no joy in fights that last a few seconds. Also if Hawke is a Mage, i would make the Templars become suspicous and even try to take him/her to the Circle where he/she can surrender or fight the templars both that can change the story.

    Bring back the abiltiy to speak to your companions anywhere. Bring back DAO’s invertory/quest menu as that was very simple and you could access it just by pressing select. I could go on forever but i think i would end up annoying everyone.

  3. You can’t tweak it, you might as well just kill it.

  4. Definitely agree with the first 2 tweaks. I’d like some more freedom and exploration, after a whole country to explore in Origins and a whole galaxy in in ME2 the city of Kirkwall seems very limited.

  5. bring back the auto attack, or if they’re determined to maintain the “it’s realtime combat” illusion make it so you can at least use some skill or timing on your attacks instead of just spamming the attack button.

    if you’re going to do real time combat, fable 2 would be a good example to follow.
    the combat was fantastic, it was only one button combat but based on your timing and speed you could actually be quite tactical.
    there were quite a few options for a single button combat system.
    DA 2 like fable 3 just became a button masher.

    also, i’d like to see some continuity in the series.
    what happened to everybody from the first game?

    i finished DA 2 and i have no idea what happened to most of the original game’s cast.

    and some new character archetypes wouldn’t go amiss either.

    don’t get me wrong, i romanced the naive sheltered characters like Liarra, Leliana and Merril, but seriously, it’s like they’re working from the same character sheet for each game.
    i think this illustrates it perfectly.
    http://cdn-www.cracked.com/articleimages/ob/biowareupdated3_web.jpg

    • Thanks for the link. Only just found out about that site yesterday and there’s a lot of good stuff there. This being a prime example! Back on topic, I loved DA:0 and played it more than any sane man would, but I hate the dumbing down feel of the second, the re-design and the repeated codex. I just wanted more of the same a la Awakenings.

    • Firstly: Who is Liarra?
      Secondly: Why would all the origins characters be in DA 2?
      -The start of DA 2 and Origins after ostagar are happeeing at the same time.
      -Origins savegame dictates whetheryou re-meet Nathaniel (Awakening) and Alastair, even the werewolves from origins have a chance of turning up in The Wounded Coast
      -Shale and Wynne are travelling
      -Ogrhen has kind of settled down
      -Zevran shows up DA2
      -Leliana makes a FEW appearances in DA2 + DLC
      -Sten has returned to the Qun
      -Morrigan is unavailable due to FINAL origins DLC
      -Loghain is either training wardens or dead

      I think you should play the DLC from origins first then you would know what happened to them, also read the ending at the end origins and don’t skip. (It changes depending on choices)

      • firstly, Liara, correct spelling this time, was in mass effect, or was that just a joke at my spelling’s expense? o_O
        it’s not my fault, the spell checker doesn’t work with names. ^_^

        i know she’s from a totally different series, but the three characters i listed are all pretty much the same, kinda naive, easily flustered, and a little sheltered.

        i was just making an example of how bioware use the same character archetypes for many of their games.

        on to the second point, i’ve not played any of the dlc for the first game, and i only borrowed dragon age 2.

        and i had the original on ps3 and borrowed the sequel on 360 so there was no savegame for the sequel to read.

        i also just wanted to know what else was going on in the rest of ferelden after the darkspawn invasion.
        the events of the first game were pretty earth shattering, a darkspawn invasion, cities destroyed, untold death, yet the sequel shows almost none of the aftermath, just what’s happening in this one little walled off city.

      • Playing the Origins DLC would give you an idea of post-blight Ferelden and what happens to many characters, and you can’t really blame the game for not having enough carryover if you played it on different consoles. Personally I ran into Leliana, Zevran and Alistair, and both Isabella (that pirate wench you have the threesome with) and Anders (technically Justice to – both from Awakening) are party members. There are also many sidequests revolving around the events of the Origins DLC.

      • And as I mentioned in the post, “auto attack” was patched back in so you don’t need to “spam the attack button” any more.

    • That link is totally inaccurate. My Shepard in ME2 looked like Obama which made the whole game hilarious.

  6. I use 2 Rogues (Myself & Varric), 2 Mages (Bethany & Merill – Act 1/ Merill & Anders – Act 2 / Bethany & Merill – Act 3). I always choose the grey warden path for Bethany so only use Anders in Act 1 for the expedition.

  7. My main annoyance with numero 2 is that only Hawke could equip different armour. That just seems like a huge and pointless step back as far as I’m concerned. I like to see the other characters evolve visually as I play and accrue as sorts of armour.

    • Yes, this! I’d actually forgotten how annoying I found this.

      The recycled environments were also a drag, didn’t mind in my first time through but it became really grating in subsequent runs through. It also felt much less epic than Origins, and I didn’t like the end, how no matter which side I was on I still had to fight both.

      On the whole though it was an enjoyable game. Not quite up to Origins levels of awesome but then it did seem to have a very short dev cycle.

  8. My problem with DA2 was the dumbed down gameplay. It was to much of a hack and slash with almost no focus on upgrading your characters.
    DA:O was more of an RPG with sometimes careful planing and lots of trial and error.

    Remove dialog wheel and replace it with the classic way of chosing what to say.
    Don’t make me press a god damn button everytime I want to hit something in the face.(Hack and slash games like DMC/GOW/Dantes inferno/Castlevania:LoS are ment to do that and not RPG games)
    It’s a RPG, then why the FIRETRUCK can’t I change the armour of my companions?

    “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

  9. It would’ve been so much better if they would’ve included Leliana more. A lot more. Also, as you mention in the article, the lack of variety in interior locations was bordering on insanity. Overall though I thought the game was alright. Dumbed down, true, but still enjoyable.

  10. should have been pc only

    • Why should it have been PC only? O_O

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