Bloodsong on Dragon Age II


 

I finally finished Dragon Age 2. I’m sure you’ve all read hundreds of reviews and rants and complaints. (Hitler’s is my favorite.) But everybody has an opinion… so here’s mine! :P

I actually enjoyed playing DA2. I didn’t like it at first. It was so… video-gamey. But after the first act, I actually got into some of the stories going on. And it was never dull. In fact, I had a hard time arranging my social calendar to do all the quests in a logical order. (Always difficult when someone says, “we have to intercept him there TONIGHT!” when you already have quests for that night set up. I won’t even tell you the two reasons I was late for Aveline’s date.)

I played on Easy (Casual) mode, and I was pretty helpless as a mage. I couldn’t FIND the targets on the screen to click on them. When I finally clicked on them, they were dead already. Then I tried the fireball AOE. Well the cursor wouldn’t turn active if I put it on an ally (even with friendly fire turned off), or if it was somehow blocked by the stairs behind me. Or not up the stairs in front of me. Or on some wall piece sticking out. I really did miss the Dragon Age overhead view!! But honestly, my team didn’t need me that badly.

Except a few times, for healing. And I MUST say… healing potions take forever to ‘cool down,’ and the Heal spell takes TWO FOREVERS! I really did hate that part.

And, I didn’t enjoy it the same way I enjoyed Dragon Age. Dragon Age really brought my character to life, and the companions were real people taking up residence in my head, and the world was really immersive. None of this really happened in Dragon Age 2. Despite my charcacter having professionally voiced lines, and occassional facial expressions, I never really felt a connection with her. I never got the feeling she was alive and making these decisions, or thinking about these things. It really was like those people in the MMO’s who have “toons” that they just use to get through the game story.

The companions had personalities (and their own custom costumes, that was actually kinda neat, except where you could never change them), but… some of them were stuck in a rut. This story spans nearly ten years, you’d think some people would grow and change a little. Especially with some of the hardships impacting their lives. But they just sorta stuck to their stereotype. I mean, in Dragon Age, you can talk about “hardening” Alistair or Leliana and seeing another side of their personality come to the fore and be different.

That, and… this pains me to say, but I missed the snogging. I’m really not into that, but… to be honest, after Vesper has had a hell of a day and lost another family member, she could REALLY use a hug from her buddy Anders. Honestly! All you can do, really, is stand around next to him while both “toons” (that awful word again) stand around not looking at each other. Not interacting. Not talking! Gah. You click on him, and he spits out his one-liner. Which at that point was a little snitty, being as I told him no on something he wanted.

 

Still, it was fun and enjoyable (at least the first time around; haven’t started playthrough 2 yet). It was entertaining, if not “deep.” Yes, the endgames were rather depressing. I’m not against depressing, though, so I won’t count that as a flaw. Nevertheless, if you want to feel like a hero who’s accomplished something by the end of the game… it probably won’t happen.

 


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