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Dragon Age II Demo This Month

This page on the Dragon Age Website is for GameStop employees, as EA expresses their appreciation for their support of the Dragon Age franchise. This gives GameStop employees exclusive early access to the playable demo Dragon Age II, and along the way reveals the demo for the RPG sequel will be released to the public on February 23: "This early demo access is being granted to GameStop employees only. Any form of distribution, recording, posting of any elements of the Dragon Age 2 demo and any of its files is strictly prohibited until February 23, 2011 when the demo is made available to all consumers." Thanks Gamer's Hell.

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52. Re: Dragon Age II Demo This Month Feb 3, 2011, 12:14 Jerykk
 
Maybe I didn't play on Super-Expert mode but I didn't have too much trouble playing semi-real time with my rogue. I paused at the start of combat to see what I was up against, tended to pause after each kill early in a big fight to help find the next priority target, and I tended to pause when switching characters because I'm just plain bad at multitasking like that. But aside from that, I stood behind an enemy and pressed buttons like it was WoW or something.

1) Did you play the PC version?
2) Did you play the unpatched PC version?

The console versions were easier (friendly fire was disabled by default) and and the patches made the PC version easier too.

Since you can only play as a human in Dragon Age 2, you have the same number of origin choices for a given class as you had in Dragon Age: Origins.

Well, no, humans in DAO had two origins to choose from. Mage or noble, two very different origins in the DA universe. Granted, you can only get the mage origin if you're a mage but nonetheless, that's still an origin. Also, the lack of race selection in DA2 doesn't somehow justify the lack of origins. Bottom line is that DAO had six origin stories. DA2 has one.
 
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51. Re: Dragon Age II Demo This Month Feb 3, 2011, 10:09 briktal
 
Jerykk wrote on Feb 2, 2011, 23:58:
3, did you even play Dragon Age: Origins?

Obviously. I played through DAO (unpatched) as a rogue. It was impossible to beat the game without making heavy use of tactics. The later patches nerfed a lot of things and made the game significantly easier, so it may have been possible to play through in real-time post-patch. I imagine playing as a mage would have made the game easier too. In any case, DAO was clearly designed to be played from the tactical view, otherwise it would have been a much easier game to begin with.

1 is kinda lame but because your character is a human, point 2 is useless, as the only origins for humans were Noble and Mage, so it was entirely based on your class. Admittedly, the Dragon Age 2 tutorial section will likely not be as different between mage and non-mage.

Each race had two origin stories in DAO. I think the elves may have had three. In any case, choices are never pointless in an RPG. The whole point of an RPG is to play the role of your choosing. Being able to choose your character's origin helps you define your role.

Maybe I didn't play on Super-Expert mode but I didn't have too much trouble playing semi-real time with my rogue. I paused at the start of combat to see what I was up against, tended to pause after each kill early in a big fight to help find the next priority target, and I tended to pause when switching characters because I'm just plain bad at multitasking like that. But aside from that, I stood behind an enemy and pressed buttons like it was WoW or something.

But my point about the origins was just a technical one. I meant that the origin you get as a human was entirely determined by your class as all human warriors/rogues were Nobles and all human mages were Mages. Dwarf and Elf warrior/rogues had a choice of origin, but not humans. Since you can only play as a human in Dragon Age 2, you have the same number of origin choices for a given class as you had in Dragon Age: Origins.
 
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50. Re: Dragon Age II Demo This Month Feb 3, 2011, 04:31 Jerykk
 
And the racial differences in stats and abilities amounted to nothing in DA:O.

True, but the simple ability to choose your race adds more roleplaying possibilities. If I wanted to be a sarcastic dwarf rogue of noble descent in DAO, I could have been. In DA2, I cannot choose that role.

I'm not sure where you got this, but unlimited pausing and queuing abilities is confirmed. Normal difficulty may be tuned for real-time play, but if you like to pause and micromanage just crank up the difficulty. It's a bit like saying RTS games don't need tactics and strategy unless paused every few seconds.

If DAO: Awakenings is any indication, DA2 will be ridiculously easy even on Nightmare difficulty. In addition, the last couple of patches for DAO nerfed a lot of things and made the game significantly easier. Add to that the fact that DA2 is being designed for both the console audience and real-time combat and I'm fairly confident that DA2 will be so easy that pausing will be completely unnecessary.

I found this post on the Bioware forums that seems to support my prediction: http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/141/index/5490589&lf=8#5503753

Friendly fire isn't even enabled unless you play on Nightmare difficulty so, yeah... not looking good.

Paraphrasing is necessary when the dialogue is spoken (otherwise the redundancy would be unbelievably irritating). I think the Mass Effect series worked fairly well in telling you what the character is thinking rather than what they are about to say. But I agree that they might have made a mistake with the icons in response to player complaints. We'll see.

I have the exact opposite feeling towards the ME games. I was always annoyed when the paraphrased dialogue options said one thing and my character ended up saying something completely different. In the end, the only way to consistently get the answer you wanted was to go by color: blue if you're paragon, red if you're renegade. I suspect the paraphrasing in DA2 will be equally ambiguous, hence the addition of tone icons.

Sauce? All I found is an interview with the lead writer mentioning Hawke will occasionally participate in party banter. Implying there will be banter.

I think I read it somewhere on the Bioware forum. It may have (hopefully) been a misinterpretation of that Gaider response. However, it seems that companion conversations are being greatly reduced compared to DAO. You can no longer speak to them wherever you want and you can only talk to them at your base. And you can only talk to them when they have something new to say. It sounds pretty much exactly like Awakenings, which had disappointingly limited interaction with your companions.

This comment was edited on Feb 3, 2011, 04:40.
 
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49. Re: Dragon Age II Demo This Month Feb 3, 2011, 03:57 entr0py
 
Jerykk wrote on Feb 2, 2011, 15:16:
List of dumbed down things in DA2:

1) You no longer get to choose your race.
True. You won't get the chance to occasionally get disparaged for being a filthy elf or a filthy dwarf. I will miss that, but it was pretty minor. And the racial differences in stats and abilities amounted to nothing in DA:O.

2) You no longer get to choose your origin.
Are you sure about that? In Mass Effect you could choose your background (though it was rarely brought up in game). It's true you won't have a background intro quest, but that was really unique to DA:O, not something one expects from RPGs in general.


3) Combat is being designed to play in real-time, negating the need for tactics or strategy.
I'm not sure where you got this, but unlimited pausing and queuing abilities is confirmed. Normal difficulty may be tuned for real-time play, but if you like to pause and micromanage just crank up the difficulty. It's a bit like saying RTS games don't need tactics and strategy unless paused every few seconds.

4) Dialogue tree has been replaced with dialogue wheel, complete with paraphrased dialogue options and icons showing the tone of each response. This removes the need for reading comprehension or even basic literacy, as players can just refer to the icons when picking a response.
Paraphrasing is necessary when the dialogue is spoken (otherwise the redundancy would be unbelievably irritating). I think the Mass Effect series worked fairly well in telling you what the character is thinking rather than what they are about to say. But I agree that they might have made a mistake with the icons in response to player complaints. We'll see.

5) Apparently the party banter (one of the best parts of DAO) is gone and replaced with a limited, context-sensitive system ala ME2.
Sauce? All I found is an interview with the lead writer mentioning Hawke will occasionally participate in party banter. Implying there will be banter. http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/9355418
 
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48. Re: Dragon Age II Demo This Month Feb 3, 2011, 03:07 Jerykk
 
Also it's not like RPGs such as Deus Ex and The Witcher haven't shown that voiced and set characters can't make meaningful decisions and such.

The Witcher and DX were great games but they weren't great RPGs. DX had a lot of interesting low-level choices but very few high-level ones while The Witcher was the opposite. A great RPG has both. Granted, DAO was a very combat-heavy game and similar to The Witcher in that regard, but I still felt it allowed for more roleplaying than any game Bioware has ever made. DA2 seems to be a step back, though I'll reserve final judgment until I actually play it.
 
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47. Re: Dragon Age II Demo This Month Feb 3, 2011, 02:37 StingingVelvet
 
I wasn't aware that the lack of lengthy party discussion at any time was confirmed... that kind of sucks. Still, if they copy the ME series it's not like there was no chance to really talk to your dudes, it was just saved for when you were on the ship. I assume there will be plenty of banter, and looking at Awakenings as an example of limited party dialogue I still felt like I got a ton of dialogue from Anders and the rest. Well, maybe not that wood elf chick, but then I got her last.

As for combat I am actually happy they are making some changes. I liked the tactical combat in DA:O, don't get me wrong, but it did feel endless and stale after a while. If the new faster pace and more interesting abilities make for better combat then I am all for it. That's not a "I want an action game" thing either, I loved combat in many turn-based RPGs, I just thought DA:O's was kind of monotonous for some reason. That said I don't want it to be too easy and I do want to use some tactics, so I will play on hard mode.

The set character and voiced dialogue bugs me a bit, but at the end of the day Bioware makes cinematic RPGs and it kind of fits their style. If the next Fallout has spoken dialogue and a wheel thing I will kill someone, but for Bioware I think it fits the kinds of RPGs they make better than the alternative, if I am being honest with myself. Also it's not like RPGs such as Deus Ex and The Witcher haven't shown that voiced and set characters can't make meaningful decisions and such.

So, all that aside my main concerns with DA2 are consolized UI, looking at many pictures, and the shorter length/smaller scope. We shall see how that pans out in the end.

For me though, WRPG lover for 15 years or so, the game is looking good.
 
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46. Re: Dragon Age II Demo This Month Feb 2, 2011, 23:58 Jerykk
 
5 isn't dumbing down, just removing a cool feature.

We must have very different definitions of "dumbing down." To me, dumbing down entails the removal or oversimplification of meaningful features or content. Party banter was very meaningful in DAO, as it really helped develop the personalities of your companions and the relationships they had with one another.

3, did you even play Dragon Age: Origins?

Obviously. I played through DAO (unpatched) as a rogue. It was impossible to beat the game without making heavy use of tactics. The later patches nerfed a lot of things and made the game significantly easier, so it may have been possible to play through in real-time post-patch. I imagine playing as a mage would have made the game easier too. In any case, DAO was clearly designed to be played from the tactical view, otherwise it would have been a much easier game to begin with.

1 is kinda lame but because your character is a human, point 2 is useless, as the only origins for humans were Noble and Mage, so it was entirely based on your class. Admittedly, the Dragon Age 2 tutorial section will likely not be as different between mage and non-mage.

Each race had two origin stories in DAO. I think the elves may have had three. In any case, choices are never pointless in an RPG. The whole point of an RPG is to play the role of your choosing. Being able to choose your character's origin helps you define your role.

Some people think the change to a voiced protagonist with a background and a personality is dumbing it down too. But, I've got to disagree; It's my blank faced mute from the last game that seemed dumb. I know that's a matter of preference though (I also liked Duke Nukem more than the Quake guy).

A voiced protagonist very clearly shows a preference for style over substance. When you have a fully voiced protagonist, you have to make the following sacrifices:

1) Only one race. Making six different sets of voice-overs for every piece of player dialogue in the game is simply unfeasible. That's why DA2 only lets you play as a human.
2) Much greater likelihood of paraphrased dialogue choices. After all, showing the player the full dialogue text beforehand would make them much more likely to skip the redundant VO. Paraphrased dialogue options are not conducive to roleplaying because the player doesn't know exactly what their character is going to say and do. The player should never have to guess, which is what paraphrased dialogue choices force you to do.
3) Less dialogue options. It takes time and money to record VO. When you have to record VO for all the player dialogue, that's a lot of time and money. Thus, it goes without saying that it simply isn't feasible for a voiced character to have as much dialogue as, say, Planescape Torment. Again, more choices are always better when it comes to roleplaying so the smaller amount of dialogue choices is a definite setback.
4) You may not like the voice-overs. If you don't like your own character's voice, that's going to be a constant immersion-breaker. Even if you think it's passable, it probably isn't exactly what you had in mind when creating your character.

If you don't care about any of the above, that's fine. It just means you're more interested in a cinematic experience than a roleplaying one. I prefer the latter so you can understand why I dislike voiced protagonists.

And no, Bioware's excuse for the lack of an overhead tactical cam doesn't make any sense. I mean, seriously, how many designers ever put anything important on the ceiling in any game? That's the dumbest excuse I've ever heard.

This comment was edited on Feb 3, 2011, 00:19.
 
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45. Re: Dragon Age II Demo This Month Feb 2, 2011, 22:52 Nuhauser
 
necrosis wrote on Feb 2, 2011, 17:19:
GameStop employees have computers?
Yeh, I was thinking the same thing. Maybe they're trying this demo out to promote PC gaming for a change? Imagine walking into a Gamestop (I have to imagine, cuz I would never actually do this), and the person behind the counter actually starts telling you about how DA II rocks on the PC. I'm gonna wait until the reviews come out and I can get a cheaper copy, but still this is a good idea to promote the PC version.

This comment was edited on Feb 2, 2011, 23:32.
 
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44. Re: Dragon Age II Demo This Month Feb 2, 2011, 21:24 nin
 
suffered through 50ish hours of boring repetitive game-play, yes I realize I'm a dick for playing it that long.

Don't you hate that? I'm the same way with movies and books. I keep hoping something redeeming will happen...

Hell, I just sat through M. Night Shamalamadingdong's Devil...

 
http://www.nin.com/pub/tension/
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43. Re: Dragon Age II Demo This Month Feb 2, 2011, 21:02 Sepharo
 
Tumbler wrote on Feb 2, 2011, 14:40:
Someone?!

I'm presuming that this whole idea is to encourage people to go into these stores and talk to these assholes...right? That is the idea, to make me want to go talk to Gamestop employees? Yeah... GO FUCK YOURSELF.

Lemme go one step further. If you picked a game I was rapid to play, just feasting on any bits of info that come in and salivating over something coming out...like...Uncharted 3. You could give these same fuckers that game, something I'm way more excited about and I'd still say GO FUCK YOURSELF at the idea of talking to these people.

They are the anti-gamer.

I worked at GameStop for 2 years. There's certainly fucktards that work there but not all of them. My shop had one hardcore PC guy... err wait.


Pyloff wrote on Feb 2, 2011, 20:52:
Funny they release the game to the employees of a company that opens every new game that enters their store. Then they try to pretend it was not used.

Incorrect. Just the display copy.
Also the last "new" copy is still sold as new and at the same price but we explain why it's opened. If it's a gift or requested we'll re-shrink wrap it.

2003-2004 your experience may vary

This comment was edited on Feb 2, 2011, 21:15.
 
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42. Re: Dragon Age II Demo This Month Feb 2, 2011, 20:52 Pyloff
 
Funny they release the game to the employees of a company that opens every new game that enters their store. Then they try to pretend it was not used.

I was tricked into buying DA1 and suffered through 50ish hours of boring repetitive game-play, yes I realize I'm a dick for playing it that long.

The most depressing part of the game was the Dwarf dungeon crawl. I finally stopped playing, I don't care what happens, dribbles of story inter-spaced with 5 hours of boring ass linear dungeon crawling is not for me. I can see how people would like it though, if they still play MMO's and somehow think that it is focused. LOL.
 
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41. Re: Dragon Age II Demo This Month Feb 2, 2011, 20:29 Wowbagger_TIP
 
I have a feeling that DA2 is not going to be the kind of game I like. I like DA. I like the tactical combat. I like the dialog trees. I like having control over my companions and their inventories. They seem to be determined to excise many of the things I like about the game to make it easier to play for someone who doesn't want to spend time reading anything or controlling their party in combat. So basically they've decided to ignore players like me to focus on the lowest common denominator players.

I guess I'll just go back and play through DA again and try to forget there's a sequel. Maybe with mods this time.
 
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"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell (I think...)
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40. Re: Dragon Age II Demo This Month Feb 2, 2011, 20:11 StingingVelvet
 
Verno wrote on Feb 2, 2011, 12:56:
That's not really anal retentive, it's not difficult to see how bad textures can affect someones viewpoint of how the game looks in general. Environmental design is a pretty big deal and can really make or break immersion, particularly in a fantasy type game. I can see people being turned off by a game by that, although personally it isn't the end of the world to me. Anyway, can you point to a specific video example of what you're describing? I'd like to observe this transformation for myself.

I'm not gonna hunt them all down, but shots like this one for instance:

http://www.gamersmint.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/8576620101115_161343_1_big.jpg

Nothing amazing but I like the design, I like the detail. There have been some others like the dudes with big horns walking into town and such. It doesn't look OMFG amazing, but it doesn't look as terrible as the original shots by any stretch.
 
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39. Re: Dragon Age II Demo This Month Feb 2, 2011, 19:23 Prez
 
The only thing that keeps me somewhat optimistic about this game, despite the awful decisions to seemingly dumb it down, is that the original Dragon Age looked terrible in the run-up before release, thanks in large part to one of the worst ad campaigns in gaming history. It turned out that it was an incredible game - maybe the sequel will end up an equally pleasant surprise?  
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38. Re: Dragon Age II Demo This Month Feb 2, 2011, 19:11 Kosumo
 
LOL @ Tumbler saying

"I hate these stores, I hate the people they hire. I hate the stupid shit you force them to say and the dollar store atmosphere of gaudy ads everywhere."

yet he has in his signature line, ads for renting or buying games for a dollar or 2.

Is it just me or is that funny?
 
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37. Re: Dragon Age II Demo This Month Feb 2, 2011, 18:22 Mashiki Amiketo
 
Dades wrote on Feb 2, 2011, 17:51:
I don't mind either approach but a lot of the gameplay changes sound like drastic departures from Dragon Age. I thought the entire point of Dragon Age was that it was a traditional CRPG callback. I don't see how Dragon Age 2 remotely resembles the original, they might as well have given it a different name and marketed it to the proper demographic. I guess having a single decent CRPG was too much to ask for?
Remember when the guys at bioware said "don't worry, nothing will change. We're still bioware." Yeah I think that lasted all of about 3 weeks.

Why do I get the feeling that DA2 will simply be a gutted game that will leave people wondering WTF happened. While the idiots at EA and Bioware will be left scratching their head over why their customers are fleeing from them. Well that is unless people buy it regardless, and ... ah fuck it. Everyone can fill out the rest.
 
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there is a neat, simple solution;
and it is always wrong."
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36. Re: Dragon Age II Demo This Month Feb 2, 2011, 17:51 Dades
 
I don't mind either approach but a lot of the gameplay changes sound like drastic departures from Dragon Age. I thought the entire point of Dragon Age was that it was a traditional CRPG callback. I don't see how Dragon Age 2 remotely resembles the original, they might as well have given it a different name and marketed it to the proper demographic. I guess having a single decent CRPG was too much to ask for? Everything doesn't need to be streamlined and turned into Call of Shooter or Mass Effect Dating Simulator. Dragon Age was financially successful as it was and everyone commented on how it proved that there was life left in the market. So much for that, yet another company goes chasing after the fickle Average Joe market who has the attention span of a rake and will most likely abandon your franchise for whatever shiny toy Nintendo shits out in a year. I'm not bitter.  
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35. Re: Dragon Age II Demo This Month Feb 2, 2011, 17:24 entr0py
 
Jerykk wrote on Feb 2, 2011, 12:16:
Indeed. As long as they don't go backwards or dumb down the game any more than the first, I'll be happy.

I take it you haven't actually read anything about DA2 yet..?

To me the changes don't sound that bad. I was disappointed when I heard the camera will be locked to the currently controlled caracter. It is fair to say that is dumbing it down a bit since it will be harder to micromanage AOE spells. Though Bioware's reasons (link below) make sense. And if they manage to avoid the huge difficulty problems of the original PC release, it might be worth it.

http://kotaku.com/5692653/dont-worry-dragon-age-ii-is-for-you-too

Some people think the change to a voiced protagonist with a background and a personality is dumbing it down too. But, I've got to disagree; It's my blank faced mute from the last game that seemed dumb. I know that's a matter of preference though (I also liked Duke Nukem more than the Quake guy). You still get to choose your character's gender, class, skills, and actions, just not race or last name.

What is there beyond that? I think I can live with the camera thing, it's not a deal breaker. And an acted protagonist sound like a big improvement.

Anyway, if you want to decide for yourself this page has virtually every known detail about the gameplay and design.
http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/141/index/3064634c[

This comment was edited on Feb 2, 2011, 17:52.
 
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34. Re: Dragon Age II Demo This Month Feb 2, 2011, 17:19 necrosis
 
GameStop employees have computers?  
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33. Re: Dragon Age II Demo This Month Feb 2, 2011, 16:46 Verno
 
Your post can basically be summed up as "I dont care about these things therefore no one else should either". It should come as no surprise that some people prefer a silent protagonist as it makes it easier to project themselves onto the character. It shouldn't be a shock that some people want more dialogue options instead of less. Also I find it amusing when people saying not having a voiced character is jarring, as if the whole party standing around waiting for you to select one of three canned options was somehow less of an interruption.

Personally I find merit in both approaches but it's a valid concern, especially considering the original didn't feature one. This is essentially a franchise reboot in many ways and because it's coming quite early people are naturally upset/curious/whatever. Those opinions are no less valid than your own.

 
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