sleepykelvina: Guild Wars screenshot (Default)
[personal profile] sleepykelvina
I'm going to try really hard to pick this back up again and resume blogging. Falling out of almost all of the fandoms I was once involved in has kind of left me with little to yammer relentlessly on. Because of that, I'll probably be taking mostly about video games.

I'll start this with a rundown on the new Bioware game, Dragon Age 2. It was a game I waited for with bated breath, because I loved Dragon Age: Origins so much. I wish I could say that the sequel was every bit the rich and highly addictive experience as the original, but I'm sad to say that it fell a bit flat.

The good stuff:

I'll start with the things I liked about this game. For one, the main character speaks and each choice is marked with an aggressive, peaceful or humorous indicator. This solves the issue from the first game, where you couldn't be entirely sure how your remarks would have been received by NPCs. It enables you to play your character in a consistent manner.

The writing, I thought was rather good. The story is compelling, the characters are likable and there are a few plot twists thrown in for good measure. I really enjoy a story that is somewhat unpredictable, and Dragon Age 2 managed to keep me guessing.

The game is also very gay/lesbian/bi friendly, as you can initiate a relationship with any of the playable characters regardless of gender. There are a variety of male and female archetypes to choose from, so there is someone for just about any taste. Naturally, this has annoyed a couple of macho male gamers, but someone from Bioware essentially told them to get over it. As you may recall, the guy/guy love scene from Origins caused quite the stir (no one objected to the girl/girl scene, because lesbians are obviously hot, while gay guys are zomgcooties) when the clip first appeared on YouTube. This game has more delicious boylove, if you choose to go down that path. If you don't swing that way, just don't click the hearts in the dialogue with dudes and your heterosexuality will go unquestioned. :)

The disappointing stuff:

As I said above, there was a lot about this game that just didn't do it for me. My number one complaint is the extremely limited number of environments. There is one city, one cave, one beach, one forest and the Deeproads. That is basically it. Every location uses one of these maps. It gets extremely tedious after a while, to be wandering around in generic cave #47, going down the same paths as before. I found that near the end, there was no longer any drive to explore every nook and cranny, because I'd already explored the map twenty times before. The recycling was so obvious, because whenever there was a part of the cave map they didn't want you in, they just put up a door you couldn't open.

The one unforgivable sin was the use of the Deeproads environment for what was supposed to be a cave. No. The Deeproads is a special place with tons of lore tied into it. The Deeproads was amazing in the first game, and creepy! I raged so hard when the map popped up in a scenario that had nothing to do with the Deeproads. Not cool.

Being stuck in Kirkwall the entire time got boring. This would have been less annoying if they'd taken care of the dungeon maps problem, but meh, there was really no sense of grand adventure.

Unlike the first game, where you had a wide variety of races and backgrounds you could play as, you get to play one character: Hawke. You got to choose the gender and class of the character, but that was it. I understand that multiple backgrounds would have involved a ton more voice recording work, but that would have been possible had they been willing to spend more time developing this.

While your character's choices are far more clear, you have far less effect on the outcome of the game. In fact, you have no control over the outcome. No matter what you do, there is one chain of events that will take place. If you go back and try to change things that lead up to the event, it will still turn out the same way.

Summary:

I enjoyed the game for the story, but it has very little replay value. I even started modding my save files to try and pique my interest for a second play through, but I'm barely through the first act with little urge to move on. I am sure they will come out with downloadable content (for a price, always for a price) that may try to correct some of the shortfalls, but why should I pay more for a game that wasn't as good as the first one? Overall, I'd give it a C+. Buy it if you liked the first one.


One thing that pissed me off so goddamned much about this game is that every fucking mage ended up turning to blood magic and becoming an abomination. I played Hawke as a mage, so even though I would choose the dialogue options sympathetic to mages, the goddamned mages would make me look like an idiot every time, and go on killing sprees. I really think that if you are a mage-sympathizer, you should be able to save some of them. I mean, really. Knowing what I know now, it would seem ridiculous not to side with the templars. Because their seemingly bigoted statements turn out to be correct. All mages end up getting into blood magic. Except me. Because when you use blood magic as a player character, you sacrifice life for mana, which usually gets you killed.
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sleepykelvina: Guild Wars screenshot (Default)
sleepykelvina

July 2011

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