Saturday, March 19, 2011

Dragon 2 or 1.5? The aftermath of Denerim and the path Bioware chose to make Disappointed? Yes/No/Stab in the throat!

*Be warned, potential spoilers*
I've been meaning to write about this game for the past week and words fail to come to me as to how I can express and explain what this game is. Suffice to say that I am pleased in some aspects and confused in others. so let's work at this one at a time.
The Dragon Age sequel has definitely improved in the visual category, so much that I had to reduce most of the graphic settings on my computer in order to run it more smoothly and my Inte i5 CPU 650@3.20GHz, ATI Radeon HD 5450 and 6 Gigs of ram is decent enough to run any game at a high setting. 
Bioware has always been a favourite of mine, crafting amazing worlds, creating characters you grow attached to and writing amazing scripts and stories. One cannot deny they've done much in the realm of rpgs. Suffice to say that I was a little shocked at what was to be found when playing the game.

Now mind you I have yet to finish the game, to be honest I have a hard time wanting to play more as the game feels diminished, gone is the big arching story line that got me absorbed in DA:Origins, now I find myself grinding dozens of side quests in order to get enough money in order to move on. Same with the environment, yes the city of Kirkwall is large, especially with its numerous wards that you can visit during the day and night along with the handful of areas outside of the city but it all feels too constricted and limiting with its set paths.
The characters in the game have been great I do admit, who knew a dwarf with a shaven beard can be so cool? The friend/rival system which allows your companions to gain different bonuses depending on how they see you is a great aspect but the now limited equipment they can use really shows a part of how they've stripped the game as a whole. Especially when throughout my adventures I find a many great items to use yet most are restricted to Hawke who will never use most of them when they do not fit their chosen class. You can still further develop and learn more from your new allies but they have taken away the camp/hq style forcing you to visit each character in their place of domicile that are scattered throughout the city which I find slightly irritating, especially when one wants to progress with various companions at once. At least the banter between teammates is still as amusing and unique as ever.
The list of things I enjoy in the game are few and far in between. The menu has changed a little. No more can you see all of the downloadable content you’ve acquired from the main menu as was prior even though you have an option for it. These little nuances keep building up though perhaps I am nitpicking too much. It is noteworthy that you may upload the story of your previous DA:Origins hero so you may hear about them in this version, along with a few familiar faces such as Flemmeth, Bodahn and Sandal (Enchantment!) and some new class trees you can explore in.
I find there is little to not enough in this time to consider it worthy of the title of a sequel, perhaps a larger expansion, a Dragon Age 1.5 if you will but overall not what I was expecting from such a well-established and veteran company such as Bioware.

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