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Dragon Age II Controversy of the Day

A post on Reddit centers on a since-deleted user review for Dragon Age II on Metacritic which seems to have been written by a BioWare engineer under the name Avanost, giving the game a glowing review without disclosing his conflict of interest. This has set off a firestorm of irate commentary, and also seems to have generated backlash, as a number of recent user reviews give the game a score of zero. There are links to cached pages that don't seem to reflect what's in the story, but nin found a cached copy of the Metacritic page that does show a portion of Avanost's 10/10 review. A Reddit comment also notes there is also a 10/10 review by a one-review user named LupoTheeButcher, which is also the nickname of a moderator on the BioWare Social Network. There's also a thread about this on the BioWare Social Network.

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88. Re: Dragon Age II Controversy of the Day Mar 17, 2011, 05:00 eRe4s3r
 
Yeah well, you basically mentioned the greatest flaws and design issues of Fallout (all of em) - the problem is exactly as you say, but they are symptoms not the cause.

1) Skills increase damage
2) Healing is instant for you, can be done in combat and enemies don't use healing (nor VATS)
3) Level scaling means skills HAVE to increase damage (its broken-by-design)
4) Enemies don't coordinate (and people call this good AI )
5) Enemies don't take cover and stand in the open.

FO3 and NV are really really bad ego-shooters. Story is yay, characters sometimes too, but the gun play and the entire gameplay mechanics are hilariously crap and don't fit a real-time first person shooter (wounds/healing/xp/leveling). NV at least tried to fix the gun play (and failed miserable because they refused to get rid of VATS (which is a relic from turn based games and does NOT belong in a real-time game. (IMO of course ,p)
 
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87. Re: Dragon Age II Controversy of the Day Mar 16, 2011, 12:21 Jerykk
 
If you remove the cheat out of Fallout 3 - that is VATS - you can no longer kill most things with 1 hit unless you are a sniper (in which case you deserve it ,p).

You don't need accuracy when you can run up with a shotgun and aim at an enemy's head. It doesn't take long at all to max out the Small Guns skill and once you do, it's headshot-o-rama with long-range rifles as well.

I played New Vegas on Very Hard difficulty and it made quite a difference, even though it just gave enemies a ton of HP and increased damage. Wiping out the Deathclaws at the quarry was a far more involved and intense affair as a result. Conversely, wiping out Deathclaws in FO3 was utterly forgettable because they were so weak.

Making smarter AI and adjust gameplay mechanics is all well and good but if enemies can only take a few hits, none of that stuff will ever come into play because they will die too quickly.
 
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86. Re: Dragon Age II Controversy of the Day Mar 16, 2011, 06:16 eRe4s3r
 
If you make only 1-shot-kill head shots in FO3 the problem is the too high accuracy and not the damage. If you remove the cheat out of Fallout 3 - that is VATS - you can no longer kill most things with 1 hit unless you are a sniper (in which case you deserve it ,p). How much you use VATS is your decision in the end - a decision that is sadly often moot because FO3 and NV both have terrible gun play

In the end, the problem is that both games are badly balanced and the combat mechanics not sufficiently developed.. a good difficulty setting is one that challenges your skill - and not your grind-resistance -> Fallout/Oblivion style difficulty slider and DA:O and DA2 HARD+ difficulty)
 
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85. Re: Dragon Age II Controversy of the Day Mar 16, 2011, 03:32 Jerykk
 
Difficulty should NEVER be increased by adjusting DAMAGE AND HP.

I'm not sure I completely agree with that. Take a game like Fallout 3, for example. If enemy HP isn't affected by difficulty setting, then you could just kill everything in one headshot. In fact, that's exactly what I did. It doesn't really matter how smart enemies, if there's friendly-fire, if enemies heal themselves, etc, if you can kill them in one hit. It's only when enemies have lots of health that you are forced to be more tactical, which is why bosses always have more health than regular enemies.

I do agree that difficulty settings should adjust more than enemy HP and damage output, though. I like how DA2 makes adjustments to AI and various gameplay mechanics and wish more games would have thoughtful difficulty settings like that. The only problem is that the enemy encounters in DA2 are so poorly designed. It's like they playtested the game on Normal difficulty, then when the testers said it was too easy, the designers thought "How can we make this more difficult without adjusting gameplay mechanics? I know! We'll spawn new enemies right in the middle of battle! Players will never see it coming!"
 
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84. Re: Dragon Age II Controversy of the Day Mar 16, 2011, 02:58 KilrathiAce
 
Another reason why noone should ever pay attention to user scores on sites like metacritic or imdb...nuff said.  
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83. Re: Dragon Age II Controversy of the Day Mar 15, 2011, 22:55 Pete
 
Knowing what everyone complains about would require reading everyones posts...

Granted, its fairly easy if you just read bluesnews as heres often plenty people who *can* tell a good game from a bad one, which thankfully saved me from buying DA2

But in turn i buckled down and bought Shogun 2 - so nothing lost, nothing gained, i guess.

The thing is, DA2 isn't a bad game. Not worth the full price, but if it dropped to $30-35 I would recommend picking it up.

disclaimer.
Not the best product from Bioware, nor a step forward in rpg's in general, but it does have its fun moments.
 
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82. Re: Dragon Age II Controversy of the Day Mar 15, 2011, 21:27 Dirwulf
 
avianflu wrote on Mar 15, 2011, 20:56:
What Dev says: ultimately it is up to the _reader_ of these user reviews to decide if the review sounds genuine or not.

User reviews are generally transparent if you ask me. I like the genuine ones. They do help my purchasing decisions, usually in regards to games I've never heard of.
 
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81. Re: Dragon Age II Controversy of the Day Mar 15, 2011, 20:56 avianflu
 
What Dev says: ultimately it is up to the _reader_ of these user reviews to decide if the review sounds genuine or not.  
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80. Re: Dragon Age II Controversy of the Day Mar 15, 2011, 20:21 Marvin T. Martian
 
Sepharo wrote on Mar 15, 2011, 20:12:
Marvin T. Martian wrote on Mar 15, 2011, 19:51:
Nuclear Meltdown, Revolution, Earthquakes, Tsuamis-USA going to hell in a handbasket quicker that you can say Obama is a great orator-you ALL really need to get a life. It's a GD game for f's sake. Play it, hate it, like it or don't even bother with it. But it really is time to STFU!

Please take your own advice.

This is gaming news site where we read and comment on the news.

Ostrich!
 
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79. Re: Dragon Age II Controversy of the Day Mar 15, 2011, 20:12 Sepharo
 
Marvin T. Martian wrote on Mar 15, 2011, 19:51:
Nuclear Meltdown, Revolution, Earthquakes, Tsuamis-USA going to hell in a handbasket quicker that you can say Obama is a great orator-you ALL really need to get a life. It's a GD game for f's sake. Play it, hate it, like it or don't even bother with it. But it really is time to STFU!

Please take your own advice.

This is gaming news site where we read and comment on the news.
 
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78. Re: Dragon Age II Controversy of the Day Mar 15, 2011, 19:51 Marvin T. Martian
 
Impulse #1
Steam #1
Direct Sales right up there too.

Nuclear Meltdown, Revolution, Earthquakes, Tsuamis-USA going to hell in a handbasket quicker that you can say Obama is a great orator-you ALL really need to get a life. It's a GD game for f's sake. Play it, hate it, like it or don't even bother with it. But it really is time to STFU!
 
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77. Re: Dragon Age II Controversy of the Day Mar 15, 2011, 19:33 eRe4s3r
 
Knowing what everyone complains about would require reading everyones posts...

Granted, its fairly easy if you just read bluesnews as heres often plenty people who *can* tell a good game from a bad one, which thankfully saved me from buying DA2

But in turn i buckled down and bought Shogun 2 - so nothing lost, nothing gained, i guess.
 
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76. Re: Dragon Age II Controversy of the Day Mar 15, 2011, 19:08 Overon
 
That's why user reviews are nearly worthless unless everyone complains about the same thing(s). Then you can take the comments with a much smaller grain of salt.  
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75. Re: Dragon Age II Controversy of the Day Mar 15, 2011, 18:21 Dev
 
This is not exactly unusual.

On IMDB, I often check out indie or B list movies before I watch them. I've found that anything rated under 5 is usually not worth wasting my time watching it (I've always regretted watching anything under 5). Now I don't necessarily agree with the ratings, but its a good first indicator if the movie is total crap (rated under 5) or worth a second look (rated above 5).
When a movie first comes out (B movies often don't even hit the theater) , and has like 10 reviews, sometimes the reviews and ratings are all glowingly positive. They read like someone involved in making the movie and occasionally the reviewer will actually admit it (saying things like "we've worked so hard on this, the director deserves to get his movie watched"). And other times, you can tell by how its written it was an employee but they don't admit it. So I wait a few weeks and check back and the ratings are a more honest 3.5 instead of 7.5 like when I first checked.

Anyway, just saying I doubt EA is the only company to do this, and I know its not the only industry to do this.

Doesn't make it right or anything though. Just reinforces my already negative view of EA.
 
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74. Re: Dragon Age II Controversy of the Day Mar 15, 2011, 17:55 StingingVelvet
 
Verno wrote on Mar 15, 2011, 16:58:
Friendly fire was present in DA:O, the actual modifier of how much damage FF did changed with the difficulty setting. The difficulty setting itself in DA2 is tied to other things like enemy cooldowns, what abilities they will use and etc. It's a shame that it doesn't fix the glaring inherent flaw with the spawning mechanics however.

Yes, I know. And the DA2 system is far from perfect I am just saying it's the kind of thing I like in difficulty changes.
 
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73. Re: Dragon Age II Controversy of the Day Mar 15, 2011, 17:19 Mashiki Amiketo
 
eRe4s3r wrote on Mar 15, 2011, 17:09:
For reference, i play DA:O with mods so maybe the "stock" normal was not as hard as i think.
I do as well. Easy was about three times easier than normal. Normal was twice as easy and hardcore. There's a couple of mods like the mutator which fixes the difficulty level so it's not gigantic huge jumps.
 
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72. Re: Dragon Age II Controversy of the Day Mar 15, 2011, 17:09 eRe4s3r
 
In Origins friendly fire is on in every difficulty except EASY. With Normal already being somewhere between "Hard" and "Nightmare" of DA2 (The normal difficulty in DA:O was *not* easy and fairly well balanced, but some battles, particularly if you go to one of the main quests right away, could be very difficult and difficulty "eased" only once you got the heavy hitting Tier 7 stuff, high level protection spells and skills and the high level runes.

Anyway friendly fire doesn't really matter because hard and nightmare are imbalanced in DA2. Having FF only in nightmare unbalances it even more.

For reference, i play DA:O with mods so maybe the "stock" normal was not as hard as i think.
 
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71. Re: Dragon Age II Controversy of the Day Mar 15, 2011, 17:08 Verno
 
Sorry about the spoiler, I screwed up the tag at first  
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Playing: Divinity Original Sin, Infamous Second Son, Madden
Watching: Spartan, Possible Worlds, The Changeling
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70. Re: Dragon Age II Controversy of the Day Mar 15, 2011, 17:08 Dirwulf
 
Verno wrote on Mar 15, 2011, 16:58:
To Bioware's credit nightmare mode in DA2 has friendly-fire, which is a new mechanic that does make the game harder.

Friendly fire was present in DA:O, the actual modifier of how much damage FF did changed with the difficulty setting. The difficulty setting itself in DA2 is tied to other things like enemy cooldowns, what abilities they will use and etc. It's a shame that it doesn't fix the glaring inherent flaw with the spawning mechanics however.

The story is...not great, I am quite far into it - Anders just went crazy on the chantry and while its clearer on where the story is going, it isn't very epic or interesting. DA2 hits all of the wrong notes in this regard, starting out too slow and focusing on mundane tasks with a lot of repetition. The build up of the expedition in the first act in particular was quite disappointing given the brevity of it. Anyway, I hope they have longer than 12 months to develop Dragon Age 3 so they can focus more on a stronger story and less repetitious gameplay elements.

Too bad I read it before you fixed it
 
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69. Re: Dragon Age II Controversy of the Day Mar 15, 2011, 17:06 Darks
 
StingingVelvet wrote on Mar 15, 2011, 16:43:
Creston wrote on Mar 15, 2011, 15:05:
I finally decided to hold of buying DA2 simply because I didn't feel like getting shafted with all the DLC again, only to find out from quite a few people whose opinions I value that the story is rather mediocre, with barely an overarching plotline of any kind, and it's mostly just doing a horde of unrelated side-missions.

Chapter one is like that but later on it gets much more involved and the overall plotline made clear. Your friends probably didn't play it that far in.

I will have to agree, your friend most likely didnít play the game very much. I just finished the game last night and I have to say that it was a very good game. Some of the side quest I could have done without, but most of the quest had some kind of link to the story later on that affected things the choices you made.

I played both endings, loved them both. Moral choices, there are a lot of them in this game that evolve the plot and your reputation within the order.

Complain all you want, thatís your choice, but I really enjoyed the game a lot.
 
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