Mar 14, 2011

Review : Dragon Age II

The latest instalment in the Dragon Age series is Dragon Age II, Bioware ( those guys from Mass Effect! ) promised us a great RPG but did they deliver?

The game starts with a small tutorial explaining how certain skills work and how to play a basic combat situation. Being way overpowered compared to my enemies gave me that great feeling of being superior, being a strong important character in the tale that Dragon Age II tells us, a feeling that didn't return in the rest of the game. ( ok ok, I know this is a tutorial and you are supposed to be way better than your enemies so you don't actually die and can learn how to play ).

After completing the tutorial we see Varric talking to a woman, telling her how things went a long time ago, making the whole game a flashback, giving me the feeling the future is already set, that I couldn't control what was going on around me and so losing the whole point of a RPG where I am supposed to make decisions that affect my surroundings. Since I had only one playthrough  I assume the story that Varric tells will vary on your own decisions, still I don't really like the idea of playing in a flashback while I am the one that should create the story. ( -1% )

Being a bit disappointed I moved on to the character creation screen, which some may praise, I don't. Being a male myself I tried to make a male character that looked a bit like me, IMPOSSIBLE, whatever I tried I never got him to look like me but instead making him look like an absolute wimp. ( I hear you thinking that I probably look like a wimp in real life, oh well... ). Then I tried to edit some of the other presets, surprisingly you can't even edit all the features of some of the presets, I mean why not? Do some of the presets have special features that only belong to them and are impossible to add in the creation screen to other characters, to the one that I wanted to look like me? The default main character looked the most like me without that beard and skin complexity, but I wasn't even able to edit ANY feature on him? Is he unique? Does he has features that are unavailable in the creation screen? Feels like the creation screen is really really limited now, despite all the options they have. Yet these options are kind of expected these days, eye colour, cheekbones, jaw placement, overbite or not etc. ( -1% ) I ended up creating a cute female character that looked decent. Always liked the idea of a small cute girl beating up the monsters ( Probably seen too much Buffy The Vampire Slayer ).

My very own miss Hawke
Character made, ready to rock. A few more battles, a bit more role playing and you end up in Kirkwall, the main city of the game, or should I say the only city in the game? For me Kirkwall is the biggest flaw in the game. The city itself is is divided in some parts, the rich part, the poor part, the docks etc. Now the biggest problem is the fact that 95% of what happens in the game is in Kirkwall. ( -5% ) I expected some nice scenery but got disappointed, I expected to look down ( literally ) on the whole city from the rich part ( Hightown ) but instead I only saw water and some mountains, not that great overview of a city that you experience in assassins creed on one of the many lookout towers. Another problem is the fact I have seen the same fucking guy with the exact same clothes multiples times in 20 seconds of play. He either found a way to clone himself into 10 different persons or Bioware failed badly in making different NPC models. Same goes with the sewer system of the city, every sewer is exactly the same. I went into different ones to complete different quests yet I always found myself in the same one. Same thing with the caves, every cave in this game is the same. Doesn't matter where you go, you will always find yourself in that same cave again. ( -1% ) Bioware closed down some parts of the cave in some quests so you don't go through the exact same thing all the time but I feel it is lazy designing ( not enough time? ) . To make it worse the city of Kirkwall has a day and night feature. Different quests, different time of the day,but still the same goddamn city. I played for over 25 hours now, and the only different places I have been to is a mountain, an underground tomb and a coast, which are all kind of small. Another weird thing is how the citizens of Kirkwall respond on stuff that happens in the city ( or how they don't respond ) , if you have a big bloody battle in the middle of the city they just don't give a fuck. They do not move, do not run away, just stand there like nothing is happening at all. After the battle they still stand there talking to their clones, doing absolutely nothing but standing still. That is another issue with Kirkwall, the city doesn't seem to be alive, okay there are some merchants and some people standing around doing nothing. The merchants are just waiting until the end of time until you come along and buy something, there isn't much interaction between the NPC's except for some dialogue between some of them, but no real action. ( -3% )

The rest of the game is really well done, a great variety of spells / abilities and some really hilarious dialogue between your companions. Personally I didn't quite like the ending but that is more personal taste. All in all it is an epic experience throughout the world of Dragon Age II Kirkwall!

Personal playtime : 25+ hours

Final Score : 89%

Next game : Minecraft

Welcome to Game like a Boss

Welcome dear readers,

As of today I decided to write my own blog to counter the mainstream idea of rating games on the good points.
Instead I'll rate my games on their flaws ( A great attacking team might win you the game, but you won't win the championship without an even greater defence, right? ) . All the games will start with a full 100% score, but bad gameplay, bad music, bad multiplayer or even bad graphics will reduce their score.

Next game : Dragon Age II