I don't know how the females in this game can walk upright. Did Russ Meyer direct Dragon Age II?
The skill trees are a decent change, although I don't think they are that much of a departure from the linear skill progression in Dragon Age: Origins.
I'm not sold on the button mashing physical combat controls. Should you be able to call a long string of "A" button presses a "combo"? There are also other combat moves that are done at random with an "A" attack. Sometimes my thief would leap through the air to stab a nearby opponent. Even if I didn't want to head that way. Sometimes she would attempt a series of seemingly ineffective roundhouse kicks aimed at the back of an opponent who was moving away to attack someone else. I'd trail behind, kicking away but usually missing because my opponent was walking away from me more quickly than my kicks were carrying me forward.
I'm glad the programmable NPC tactics have been retained. Magic works the same way, and graphically Dragon Age finally looks like it belongs in this generation of consoles.
The dialogue wheel is kind of different now. As far as I can tell, "good" replies are still on the higher sections of the wheel and "evil" ones are at the bottom. For some reason on top of that they have added kind of pictographs that also convey the emotion of the dialogue choice. I still wish there was a "hard mode" for dialogue where the choices on the wheel are randomly positioned - and the pictograph thing is disabled.
I'm sure the full game will be riddled with bugs (like DA:O). I'm also sure I'll still enjoy it anyway. Just like the DA:O.
I hate having to make choices between PC and console. It tends to be agonizing. Atleast in this case I get to try both demo's before deciding. I have both ME and DA for the PC. I enjoy the added value and challenge of trophies for my favorite games. Trophies added an easy 50 hours of playtime to Demon's Souls for me. Gives an incentive beyond just finishing the game.
I played the first DA on a PC and thoroughly enjoyed it.
I played the demo for DA2 on the PS3 and found a lot of button mashing, although I'm told there will be "auto-attack" in the real version, so you'll be able to let that go and just focus on your special abilities.
I'm really not crazy about the Dynasty Warriors style combat. I heard rumours that EA asked Bioware to make the game more accessible but this is ridiculous. I can live with the change in art style direction but the ridiculously oversized swords and level 1 fighter effortlessly taking out hordes of enemies is too much for me. I might pick it up once it hits the bargain bin.
Well I've played through a few hours worth of the real game. I think I'm going to turn off persistent gore. It might be somewhat realistic, but I can't take two people calmly conversing while covered in viscera seriously.
My feelings about the combat system haven't changed. At least playing on Hard makes me halt the action more to order my team around. It makes the combat feel less automatic.
I'm also not inclined to do this...
But maybe I'll start a cheat character and try it out before a patch gets released.
Several more hours in I can say the game is still fun to play. It also has gone through the same kind of dumbing down process that Mass Effect 2 went through.
Inventory management has been simplified. Mainly due to the fact that all your companion characters use the same armour throughout the game. You only have control over their weapons and accessories - rings, belts and amulets.
It means that a lot of the equipment you find is useless, as it can only be used by your character and a lot of it will be meant for the other two classes your character doesn't belong to.
The button mashing in combat isn't bothering me as much. I tend to take over the mage character(s) anyway to direct their spell casting and let the melee characters run on their tactics.
I am experiencing a big bug in the tactics system. I have a command for each character to use a healing potion if their health is low. That command gets broken after a while. By broken I mean, when I check the character's tactics, the healing command is only half built. That results in the command being ignored. Which results in characters dying when they shouldn't be.
I've got to be at least 40 hours in to my first play through now. It feels like I'm getting close to the end, but I don't know for sure. I haven't even checked what the level cap is. My characters are level 18 now.
The game may have been rushed in some ways, but still has a long story arc. I'm sure the playtime would be much shorter if you ignored side quests. But I have an OCD like need to explore everything.
The dialogue (both written and acted) is well done, and there is a novel's worth of Journal/Codex entries to read if you want more information about characters, locations and world history.
I made the right choice picking the "hard" difficulty level. If I take on some encounters with the wrong mix of characters I get my butt kicked. Magic is still powerful, but not as unbalanced as the first game. It used to be that a couple of mages in a party was pretty much the key to victory. Now you need some muscle in the party too, or the mages will get overwhelmed. That has more to do with the amount of enemies that can be onscreen at once. You can fight a LOT more people at once now. Also enemies using blood magic have to be respected. There's some spell that can suck the life out of an entire party if they are all in range. If it isn't quickly interrupted or dispelled you will be reloading your last save.
I was also very happy to discover that the dialogue wheel isn't completely predictable. I generally play a "good" character the first time through and try to do the right thing in my dialogue choices. I've been burned a couple of times by not considering my reply more carefully and going to the upper right on auto-pilot. Sometimes the "nice" choice isn't what a character is looking for, and ends up having negative consequences. And of course there are places where the plot forks and a hard choice has to be made. I'm already looking forward to making another character with a different disposition to see how other story branches turn out.
Perusing the Bioware forums, here's the best list I've found of major/minor issues along with my notes for ones that aren't self explanatory.
1.) Isabela/Sebastian friendship causing stacking debuff.
2.) Goad/Armistice (activated abilities) not working on 360/PS3.
3.) Maker's Sigh glitches.
4.) Combat resurrection not flagging returning party members as being in combat.
5.) Corrupted save games (would be #1 if I were hearing more reports of it. Seems pretty rare.)
6.) Shield armour rating glitch
1 - Having Isabela/Sebastian as allies provides your main character with a five percent speed/damage resistance increase. Each time you remove them from your party those minor increases should be removed. Instead what happens is that [.05 x (number of times that character is removed from your party)] is removed instead. So swapping Isabella out of your party ten times will result in your character attacking 50% slower than normal. The solution for now is to be mean to Isabela/Sebastian so that they do not become allies.
3 - Maker's sigh is a potion you can purchase that allows you to redistribute your attribute and ability points. It does this, but does not properly remove passive ability bonuses. Multiple uses will end up penalizing those ability bonuses in a similar manner to the Isabela glitch.
4 - This actually helps you in combat, as those characters' health and mana/stamina regenerates incredibly fast. Still, not good if you want to beat the game honestly.
6 - Swapping a character's shield with a better one causes the difference in Armour ratings between the two shields being permanently added to the character's Armour rating. Again, this can be seen as beneficial but a big problem for someone trying to play through honestly.
1.) Merrill's Act 3 dialogue all out of sequence
2.) Imported plot flags misfiring (such as the case with The Architect)
3.) Sebastian backpack glitch
4.) Haste glitch
5.) Rally glitch
1 - There are a lot of Merrill glitches in Act 3. In my game she gets kidnapped at one point, yet I could still put her in my party. She helped rescue herself!
2 - Imported events from previous Dragon Age Origins playthroughs aren't being read properly when referred to in DA:2.
3 - Sometimes removing his bow results in your backpack (inventory) being considered full?
4/5 - A character with high magic resistance sees the benefits of Haste/Rally considerably shortened.
1.) Fetch and return quest exploits.
2.) Auto attack option not available on 360/PS3 versions.
1 - Money/experience cheat.
2 - Button mashing combat currently mandatory. Bioware said an auto attack option (a return to the combat system of DA:O) would be available. It is for the PC version, but the console versions shipped without it.
Also, if you got the Exiled Price DLC soon after the game was released you should delete it and download it again. The original version didn't have achievements properly implemented.
I've had to stop playing and start a new character due to the Isabela glitch. Hopefully Bioware won't drag their feet on releasing a patch. But I won't hold my breath on that one.
Well, a patch has been released for the PC and 360 at least. If the PS3 patch isn't out already it will be soon. The good news is that the biggest bugs have been corrected. The bad news is that stuff like speed effects that are debilitating a character in a current playthrough haven't been removed. They just won't get any worse...
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