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Dragon Age II Demo

The Dragon Age Website now offers downloads of the promised playable demo for Dragon Age II, BioWare's RPG sequel. The demo is available in three varieties, an English demo which includes Espa˝ol, Italiano, Polski, and Русский subtitles, which is mirrored on AtomicGamer, ComputerGames.ro, Gamer's Hell, WorthPlaying; a Deutsch demo, which is mirrored on Gamer's Hell; and a demo en Franšais, which is mirrored on AtomicGamer and Gamer's Hell. They also remind us of the previously announced promotion that will provide players with two in-game items if the demo achieves one million downloads and logins by March 1st, and word is that all players who complete the demo by May 31st will receive and additional in-game item. Here's word:

In the demo, players will venture through the game's prologue, choosing from three different character classes. They'll also learn more about Hawke and hone their skills and abilities that will make them the ultimate hero. After finishing the prologue, players will enter a key new location in the world of Dragon Age, Kirkwall, befriending Isabela, a romantic interest in the game who is also a deadly smuggler. Upon completion of the demo, players will unlock a special weapon, Hayder's Razor, an ancient dwarven blade which increases health, mana, and combat abilities, in the full release of Dragon Age 2.

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154 Replies. 8 pages. Viewing page 5.
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74. Re: Dragon Age II Demo Feb 23, 2011, 04:15 Ray Ban
 
It's exactly like DA:O.

They just switched out the extremely non-immersive multiple-choice conversation system with a super-immersive voiced three-choice system.

They replaced the boring, slow, tactical combat system with an adrenalinpumping "Push a button and something awesome will happen!"(TM) system.

They adjusted the difficulty, so you can start dominating your enemies from the start. No more of that stupid death thing from the first game.

They threw out most of the party banter. If you want boring character relations stuff you can go read a book.

And finally: they got the graphics/control system optimized. You no longer have an excuse to not buy it for console.
 
"The future's so bright I gotta wear shades!"
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73. Re: Dragon Age II Demo Feb 23, 2011, 03:25 Doma
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRz2uerFyi0  
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72. Re: Dragon Age II Demo Feb 23, 2011, 03:02 entr0py
 
Jerykk wrote on Feb 23, 2011, 00:50:
More changes for the worse:

1) No injuries. I decided to sit around and let one of my party-members die. After the battle was over, the party-member had no injuries. So basically, there's no consequence to falling in battle anymore.

2) You can't talk to your companions in the field. They'll say one line of dialogue but there's no actual conversation.

3) Cooldown times are extremely quick. This makes it really easy to spam abilities and spells without much forethought.

1) Obviously getting everyone killed still has a penalty of consequence. Beyond that, if you play poorly but just squeak by you might end up wasting a lot of your potion stock. As for injury kits, to me those were only scarce the first 3 hours of DA:O. After that I never had to buy or craft one.

2) In DA:O, each companion would have a single line they'd spit out when you ask them what they think the current situation, much as they do in DA2. Not being able to ask your companions about their childhood while exploring a spider infested cave seems like a minor loss. There'll be time for that later.

3) I decided to look that up on Dragon Age Wiki out of curiosity. Fireball, Mighty Blow, and Winter's Grasp all have the exact same cooldown time as previously, mind blast had it's cooldown shortened from 30 to 10 seconds (and was nerfed), but heal had it's cooldown increased from 5 seconds to 60 seconds (and was buffed). So, really it's in line with the last game.
 
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71. Re: Dragon Age II Demo Feb 23, 2011, 02:35 Suddenly_Dead
 
Apparently disabling vsync stops most of the crashes. It tears, but it's playable.  
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70. Re: Dragon Age II Demo Feb 23, 2011, 01:58 Jerykk
 
I let them die during the intro part. It's possible that injuries were disabled there but I have a feeling they've just been removed entirely to make the game more accessible. Or maybe they're only present on the higher difficulties? One can always hope.

As for mage cool-downs, they seemed way too quick to me. There was never a point where I didn't have a spell ready to cast. The powerful AoE attacks also cast really quickly so the chances of an enemy interrupting the spell are extremely low (if they can even be interrupted at all). Finally, I encountered the same big issue that I encountered with the archer; most of the enemies just ignored me. In DAO, enemies would usually focus on mages and archers first and had to distracted with warrior or rogue abilities. In the DA2 demo, I could pretty much just sit back and spam spells without worry.

Oh, and the influence system seems jacked. When you meet the Templar dude, if you're really polite to him, you gain 10 friendship points with your apostate mage sister. That doesn't even make any sense. She should hate the templar and want nothing to do with him. In DAO, the likes/dislikes of your party members were much more consistent and logical.
 
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69. Re: Dragon Age II Demo Feb 23, 2011, 01:18 Drayth
 
Curious what part you let your party member fall? You couldn't recieve injuries in the beginning Origin portion of DA:O if you fell in combat also.

So it could be that. Or it's just removed from the demo only. Or the game has no injuries (bad).

The cooldowns didn't seem off to me, especially the mage's. I can def say I started sweating the mage heal cooldown quite a bit durring the ogre fight.

This game seems more like an anime to me, especially the rediculous two-handed sword swing. That's not necessarily bad, it did have a certain atmosphere to it.. but it distances itself from the first game in terms of tone. Sword physics aside, that's the only gripe I have about the graphics.
 
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68. Re: Dragon Age II Demo Feb 23, 2011, 01:04 entr0py
 
Jerykk wrote on Feb 22, 2011, 23:09:
3) Backstabbing has been turned into an an active ability rather a position-based maneuver, removing the need for careful positioning.

You do have a "backstab" activated skill that teleports you behind enemies and does a critical hit. But that's not a good reason to think normal backstab bonuses don't' exist.

For example, you'll find a similar skill in many MMOs including WoW and RIFT. It doesn't REPLACE the backstab bonus, it's just a quick way to get behind enemies where you want your rogue.

We know at least that directional damage bonuses exist in DA2 from the sword and shield style descriptions. Unfortunately they had a lot of options disabled in the demo, including on-screen damage numbers. Otherwise we should be able to tell if there's a backstab bonus for ordinary auto attacks.
 
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67. Re: Dragon Age II Demo Feb 23, 2011, 00:50 Jerykk
 
More changes for the worse:

1) No injuries. I decided to sit around and let one of my party-members die. After the battle was over, the party-member had no injuries. So basically, there's no consequence to falling in battle anymore.
2) You can't talk to your companions in the field. They'll say one line of dialogue but there's no actual conversation.
3) Cooldown times are extremely quick. This makes it really easy to spam abilities and spells without much forethought.

Oh, and they totally overcompensated for the relatively underpowered archers in DAO. I played through the demo again as an archer and my health never dropped below 90%. This was mainly due to the fact that most of the enemies completely ignored me and when they eventually noticed me, I'd kill them before they could get close.

This comment was edited on Feb 23, 2011, 01:01.
 
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66. Re: Dragon Age II Demo Feb 22, 2011, 23:48 MoreLuckThanSkill
 
Some of these comments make me wonder if those people even played DA:O, but whatever, human memory is a finicky thing apparently.

I played the demo through Steam, attempted to keep an open mind. Dialogue wheels seem to dumb down the dialogue options. Also, Mass Effect style, the dialogue does NOT match at all with the wheel option. I personally dislike this style, but some people love it, oh well. I would rather have more dialogue choices and no character voice, but maybe I am in the minority in that.

Inventory was locked, BUT you could still open it by hitting "I" and see that this is also dumbed down(simplfied for no reason): apparently you are the chosen one because you are the only person in Ferelden who can wear gloves and a helmet. Every other character has a weapon, shield, belt, rings and "Clothes" slot, while you get additional chest, gloves, hat, feet slots. Why? Was it that hard to put gloves on a party npc? Mind boggling.

Combat has changed, pretty dramatically in my opinion. Tactical positioning seems to be removed, you cannot place characters and have them stand there, they instantly run to whichever character you have highlighted. Bug/feature, you cannot group select multiple characters and have them run to mouse selected spots. One or more of the characters will get locked/stand still. Two handed swords either weigh nothing, or these are the strongest people in the universe. Acceptable I guess, although I will miss dual wielding warrior setups, vs dual wielding rogue jokers. Missing top down tactical view also, makes bouncing back and forth from ranged npcs to melee npcs increasingly annoying with the chase cam style view.

Models: There seems to be only 1 model for melee darkspawn. I thought DA:O was bad with like 5-6 models.. this is pure console game memory conservation at its worst. Ranged darkspawn differ slightly, but only 1 model for them as well. Ogre is changed, for the worse, but that's just my opinion. Bioware seems to have dropped the ball here, on the PC version. Practically every modern game has variable models for different copies of the same level enemy. This would be less noticeable, but every 3 seconds there is a closeup of a darkspawn getting butchered by some npc.

Game crashed when I alt tabbed, initially no sound in the cut scenes/dialogue, until I clicked on Force Stereo and restarted. Default to 5.1? Not everybody has 5.1 speaker setups, but oh well.

TLDR: Some bugs, simplified models, weightless two handed swords, consolization, Dragon Effect dialogue style.

Looking forward to a Steam sale of this in a year or more. At about 5 dollars or so.
 
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65. Re: Dragon Age II Demo Feb 22, 2011, 23:37 Jerykk
 
The bottom line is I don't see a big difference. And I frankly don't understand the comments about the "pacing" of the combat being different. I didn't notice the mobs and mob bosses dying any more quickly than they did in the first Dragon Age. Yes, there are some slight differences in reaction times on some spells and skills, but that does not make it an action game. I did all the battles in the demo and I felt like I was playing DAO again.

I think the combat feels faster because you don't have to pause or micromanage your characters anymore. Granted, this may not be viable on Nightmare difficulty (which the demo unfortunately doesn't let you use) but it wasn't viable on Normal difficulty in the unpatched PC version of DAO either.
 
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64. Re: Dragon Age II Demo Feb 22, 2011, 23:31 Nomaar
 
Jerykk wrote on Feb 22, 2011, 23:09:
So I play through the whole thing and, wtf, this game plays exactly--and I mean EXACTLY--like the first game.

You have a very loose definition of "exactly."

Significant differences:

1) Tactical camera doesn't zoom out nearly as far as it did in DAO.
2) Tactical camera is always tethered to one character, so if that character moves, so does the camera. This makes it really difficult to micromanage your party in real-time.
3) Backstabbing has been turned into an an active ability rather a position-based maneuver, removing the need for careful positioning.
4) Dialogue tree has been replaced with a dialogue wheel with paraphrased dialogue options. I no longer know what I'm going to say and have to guess based on the vague paraphrasing and the silly tone icons. Subtlety = gone.
5) Friendly fire no longer exists on Normal difficulty and is only available on Nightmare difficulty.

For me, at least, the differences in the camera were trivial. By zooming out and spinning the view around the tethering didn't inhibit my ability to be aware of the situation and plan out my strategy accordingly. The dialogue wheel is less precise, but again, I was OK with it, and I didn't notice the friendly fire changes. That sort of bugs me but I usually play these games in nightmare anyway.

The bottom line is I don't see a big difference. And I frankly don't understand the comments about the "pacing" of the combat being different. I didn't notice the mobs and mob bosses dying any more quickly than they did in the first Dragon Age. Yes, there are some slight differences in reaction times on some spells and skills, but that does not make it an action game. I did all the battles in the demo and I felt like I was playing DAO again.
 
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63. Re: Dragon Age II Demo Feb 22, 2011, 23:14 Suddenly_Dead
 
Loading...

*CRASH*

I'm actually very intrigued by the change of pace in the combat. Shame I can't finish the demo.
 
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62. Re: Dragon Age II Demo Feb 22, 2011, 23:09 Jerykk
 
So I play through the whole thing and, wtf, this game plays exactly--and I mean EXACTLY--like the first game.

You have a very loose definition of "exactly."

Significant differences:

1) Tactical camera doesn't zoom out nearly as far as it did in DAO.
2) Tactical camera is always tethered to one character, so if that character moves, so does the camera. This makes it really difficult to micromanage your party in real-time.
3) Backstabbing has been turned into an an active ability rather a position-based maneuver, removing the need for careful positioning.
4) Dialogue tree has been replaced with a dialogue wheel with paraphrased dialogue options. I no longer know what I'm going to say and have to guess based on the vague paraphrasing and the silly tone icons. Subtlety = gone.
5) Friendly fire no longer exists on Normal difficulty and is only available on Nightmare difficulty.
 
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61. Re: Dragon Age II Demo Feb 22, 2011, 23:00 Dades
 
If you liked the first game I expect you will like this one.

The combat doesn't play out like the first game at all to me and calling the differences superficial seems like a stretch. The ability to pause is meaningless due to the way the combat is structured to suit gamepad players. Someone mentioned animations earlier and I totally get what they mean, the animations in this game are pretty strange. There's also this weird stop motion effect on everything you do that's supposed to make you look stylish but instead makes the game appear to be running poorly.

I did notice some positive things however. I liked the ability to actually dodge abilities and missile fire using character movement instead of dice rolls. That was a welcome change for people who don't like bringing a tank player to everything. Facial animations were better than Origins.

The combat is too fast to be tactical, there's no weight to the weapons, a 2 handed sword swings as fast if it were a tooth pick.

Yeah I didn't care for that either. It feels almost like a JRPG or something.

This comment was edited on Feb 22, 2011, 23:06.
 
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60. Re: Dragon Age II Demo Feb 22, 2011, 22:57 Nomaar
 
OK, so I came here to read about the demo, downloaded it and launched it expecting to extremely disappointed since I'm usually a purist about rpgs. So I play through the whole thing and, wtf, this game plays exactly--and I mean EXACTLY--like the first game. The only differences are superficial, i.e., the animations are much faster and the UI is simpler. The guts of the original game, however, are all there: the character progression, the inventory system, the character interactions, the strategy you have to use to fight, the issuing of orders, etc. I hear a lot of screaming about the camera, but it's not as different as you make it seem. You can still zoom in and out, so you still get a good view of things even though its character centered. The moaning about this becoming an arpg is completely groundless and a knee-jerk reaction. It surprises me that I'm saying that because I have an innate hatred of EA, but it's the truth. If you liked the first game I expect you will like this one.  
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59. Re: Dragon Age II Demo Feb 22, 2011, 22:43 HorrorScope
 
necrosis wrote on Feb 22, 2011, 19:33:
True but it sucks when something was good but gets run into the ground.

You are talking about how DA bastardized NWN right? The roots of this game are squarely NWN with added cinematics and tons of missing features.
 
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58. Re: Dragon Age II Demo Feb 22, 2011, 22:41 RollinThundr
 
StingingVelvet wrote on Feb 22, 2011, 22:09:
necrosis wrote on Feb 22, 2011, 19:59:
Then you obviously prefer consoles over PC games and under the age of 20. Yeah its a stereotype but most people under that age I talk to say there is nothing wrong with the current flood of piss poor console ports coming to PC.

Instead of making shit up to try and annoy me why don't you do as entr0py said and list something other than animation speed and camera control that is different about the combat. Your original post just moans about the menus and HUD (which honestly seemed very PC to me but whatever). If the gameplay is sooooo different tell us why.

'Cause right now the 10% of people still bitching about this game just seem like fuddy-duddys who are completely thrown and baffled by the fast-paced combat, even though it is still very much tactical, party-based and PC-friendly.

The combat is too fast to be tactical, there's no weight to the weapons, a 2 handed sword swings as fast if it were a tooth pick. The menus and gui are downright amateurish and the lack of an over head camera makes seeing the battlefield, assessing the situation, and strategically attacking impossible. Its like Mike Laidlaw has said numerous times in interviews, push a button, awesome happens, except if you're a PC player who prefers titles like baldur's gate over torchlight.

Bioware made it plenty obvious during development that consoles were their focus and it certainly shows in this demo in spades.
 
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57. Re: Dragon Age II Demo Feb 22, 2011, 22:41 HorrorScope
 
necrosis wrote on Feb 22, 2011, 18:46:
This is the reason PC gaming is dieing. I don't give a shit what the numbers say.

I see it more as the Wall Street Developers are dying on the PC. Luckily there are groups outside of these realms that can still make good games.
 
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56. Re: Dragon Age II Demo Feb 22, 2011, 22:37 HorrorScope
 
Fion wrote on Feb 22, 2011, 16:02:
In terms of gameplay I'm having fun so far playing, though the gameplay is absolutely dumbed down and action rpg oriented. I like the level up system, the stats are more clearly defined and you have a lot of choices in each class to specialize within. But the combat so far is lack luster and not very immersive so far.

Pretty much this, the only bug I had was messing with Tactics, the system got confused going in and out of choices. I had to go out and come back in to set it. Not surprising, small/linear areas, tons of dialog. Combat is imo now squarely an action game.
 
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55. Re: Dragon Age II Demo Feb 22, 2011, 22:09 StingingVelvet
 
necrosis wrote on Feb 22, 2011, 19:59:
Then you obviously prefer consoles over PC games and under the age of 20. Yeah its a stereotype but most people under that age I talk to say there is nothing wrong with the current flood of piss poor console ports coming to PC.

Instead of making shit up to try and annoy me why don't you do as entr0py said and list something other than animation speed and camera control that is different about the combat. Your original post just moans about the menus and HUD (which honestly seemed very PC to me but whatever). If the gameplay is sooooo different tell us why.

'Cause right now the 10% of people still bitching about this game just seem like fuddy-duddys who are completely thrown and baffled by the fast-paced combat, even though it is still very much tactical, party-based and PC-friendly.
 
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