Say what you might about FF XIV, but it is an incredibly pretty game. There was a time there where I was considering comparing it graphically to other games, but it is probably the most technically beautiful game I’ve played for a while. Still, that is not what this post is about (although, I did totally play some FFXIV recently), this post is about the recently released Dragon Age 2 demo.
The game is… shiny looking. That’s the best way I can describe it. The first game had some truly hideous creatures, and that was just within the confines of the playable races – and they fitted the grimdark sort of attitude that the game was going for.
Playing through DA2′s demo, I’ve seen lots of blood, a few enemies that are apparently Darkspawn, but I’m not entirely sure, a less imposing Ogre, and Flemeth, who admittedly looks pretty awesome with her redesign (although the weird disconnect between her wrinkly face and not-wrinkly body is kinda strange).
Combat has a look about it, and pretends to be more fast paced. Playing it through, I’m not convinced so much, as it seems that the general thing is that you hit much faster, but each hit deals 1/3 to 1/9000th of the damage. The lack of a detachable camera to float up is a pain (perhaps I didn’t find how to do it?), and the inablility to see more than 1 enemies health bar at a time is frustrating (only on mouseover).
The Dialouge Wheel, gracefully stolen from Mass Effect is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it makes it painfully obvious what the good and bad choices are. On the other… well, actually the exact same thing.
I hated the way Origins liked to give me what appeared to be no-win situations, but that was also it’s greatest strength. The Dialogue Wheel worked in Mass Effect because of the kind of story it was trying to tell, where every choice could be black and white.
Look, it just seems like Dragon Age 2 is a gigantic middle-finger to everyone who actually liked Bioware’s games pre-KotOR, for the most part. Dragon Age was a horribly paced, but still sweet, love song, but this just… seems a little bit like a regression back to the plastic worlds of Mass Effect.
Will I still be buying it? You bet, but I’ll be constantly thinking about how it’s managed to pull a Mass Effect 2 all of a sudden, which will probably negatively impact my enjoyment of the game.
Actually, I feel the need to clarify that last statement. Mass Effect 2 was a good game, and I played it through twice, back to back, within a week of it coming out. However, it ruined the best parts of the first game (character advancement is fun, you guys), made the story feel really lightweight (not even a single non-required (you did need to do all the Loyalty missions, really)), and generally felt less fun than the first game.
The biggest problem with it, probably was the removal of all the passive talents. They allowed me to play Mass Effect like a kinda shitty Shooter (aka Third Person Shooter), but with relatively engaging talky bits. They took them all away, and replaced them with Ammo Abilities – these would of been okay, if I didn’t have to basically cap all four (or five) of the damned things.
ANYWAY, getting off topic, which was that I am simultaneously less excited and more excited about Dragon Age 2, and the emotional turmoil this has brought me (leading to be randomly giving shit to Bioware, I’m sorry guys, but I want you to make awesome games, not just merrily ‘okay, I guess’ ones, even if that level of quality makes your games still look awesome in comparison to the latest blockbuster boring shooting games.