Dragon Age 2

People pointed me to this video about the upcoming sequel to Dragon Age: Origins, a game I thoroughly enjoyed despite my bitching about it.

I’d heard a bit about changes BioWare wanted to make to the second instalment, and didn’t like what I read, so I stopped reading about it. But the video I linked to above kind of forced me to pay attention again. And then, yesterday, I saw the PS3 demo for download, and gave it a shot…

You know how they go on in the video about how “the shuffle must go” for rogues? You don’t? Watch the video, then. I’ll wait…

… see, the shuffle was a tactical thing, that made sense, that enabled you to — quite literally — outmaneuver opponents. It was a bit slow, but it was good.

Now, backstab is an instant attack: whatever you’ve got targetted, mash the backstab button and you’ll appear behind them and do massive damage. Combine that with the instant closing for regular attacks, and the game plays more like a brawler than anything else.

Not what I signed up for. Also, not what I expected after the first game.

It might be something that players who didn’t play the first would enjoy more. I don’t know, it’s possible. But it’s really not what you’d expect from a CRPG, and I would be surprised if many CRPG players enjoyed this change. They might still enjoy the game as a whole, possibly. I’m not sure I will, because I like my tactical gameplay, thank you very much.

Also, the art style changed. While I generally don’t mind the change, the demo and the video have given me the distinct impression that they’ve managed to move characters closer to the uncanny valley than further away. That, to me, is a distinct regression, and more or less objectively measurable. Sadness ensues.

Lastly, the sound (or lack thereof) and camera angles in the intro sequence where the dwarf (whose name I forget, let’s call him gunfucker, because he loves his gun so much) is being dragged through a dungeon and subsequently questioned… I don’t know. The whole thing seems far less cinematic and impressive to me than comparable sequences from the first game.

I’m not impressed12.

  1. I’m also going to refrain from talking about other stuff I saw in the video that I didn’t like, because I have yet to see it in motion. But I’m afraid BioWare just killed off a promising franchise for me. []
  2. Also, I played the Mass Effect 2 demo, and was similarly unimpressed. I don’t even know what it is, but something is going very wrong over at that studio… []