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Dragon Age 2 – My Thoughts Thus Far

I’m making my way through Dragon Age 2.  I started it once, hated it a lot and quit playing.  I went back to it because I’m missing Ferelden (not that it’s set in Ferelden, but at least I hear about the old country.)  I also realized I was playing a mage and I hate playing mages.  I created a new character, a rogue and I’m liking it much better.  First time I’ve every played a rogue and that sneaky shadow skill is quite cool.  As is the popping behind people for a low down dirty backstab.

What has struck me as I worked through some of my companion quests is how much the Dalish elves and the evil mirror from the Dalish origin story from Dragon Age: Origins runs through many of the subsequent games.  It’s a big part of Witch Hunt, and it’s the Dalish elf’s tribe that is camped near Kirkwall in DA2.  In fact you adventure briefly with Merill in DA: Origins, and now in DA2 she is trying to fix the evil mirror that cost you your friend Tamlen’s life, and sent you into the Grey Wardens.

So why not let you import your Dalish elf character from the earlier games?  I know they wanted to voice the main character, but I find myself mentally substituting my warden character for Hawke because this would all have so much more resonance for him rather than this clueless human.

I happen to agree that the Dalish are cool.  It’s why I keep playing my little Dalish elf.  I have this whole backstory about him, what happened when he became chancellor of Ferelden and Commander of the Grey, and how neat it would be if the people of his tribe suddenly had to cope with the return of this person who had completely left the traditions and life of a wandering Dalish elf and risen so high in the world.

I know the designers came up with this story that would span ten years, but it just feels so forced.  The first act seemed pointless.  They kill your brother who you barely knew so you don’t give a damn.  And if you’re playing a mage they kill your sister who you’ll barely knew.  Then you end up in Kirkwall running around doing little jobs to try and get enough money to go on the Deep Roads expedition, and buy your mommy a house.  Neither of these cut it for me as big motivators.  Oh, and you pick up people to join your little band.  

And to add insult to injury your companions have more interesting conversations among themselves they they ever have with you.  In DA: origins you can talk with people while your adventuring.  Here you have to go to their houses (or the bar in Isobela’s case) to have a conversation, and apparently there are only set times when you can talk with them.  There are very set times and steps for the development of relationships which makes them feel fake and forced.

The Deep Roads expedition ends act one, and during it you lose your sister.  I took her along and because Anders was with us I managed to get her into the Grey Wardens.  Apparently if you don’t have Anders she dies, and if you leave her home the Templars take her to the circle.  One way or the other you are losing Bethany, and you can just lump it rather like the death of your other sibling.

So now I’m into act two, and I enjoying it more though the same damn fake emotion over a death has happened.  Now my mommy is dead too in a rather silly Frankenstein adventure where I can’t do a damn thing to affect the outcome.  The only plus was that Fenris came back to comfort me.  (I do like Fenris.  Love men with smokey voices and I love elves.  Though that’s another bitch.  Why did they decide the elves had to have donkey ears now?  I liked the little pointed ears.  Now they just looks silly.)

While we’re on the subject of redesigns why did they give the Qunari these big honking horns?  To make them seem more like devils?  Sten didn’t have big horns which breaks the sense of a real world if races can randomly change how they look.  Design these folks and stick with it.  You break the sense of immersion when you do this.

I’ll keep going now and finish DA2, but I sincerely hope they bring back the Baldur’s Gate team if they do a DA3, and bring back allowing up to play different races.  And periodically I’ll pop back in Origins and remember why I love this game and that universe so much.

0 Responses to Dragon Age 2 – My Thoughts Thus Far

  • s says:

    Having to go to characters houses etc is the bad results that you get when originally scripting the game for consoles. Probably also why they remade the looks of the elves and the Qunari. So the would be easier to tell apart from humans when playing on consoles.
    I have not finished DA2 yet. Played Origins twice. If they make more I sincerely hope they make them for PC first and port to console afterwards.

  • Melindas says:

    But S, that wasn’t the case in Origins. I could talk to my companions while we walked along. I could talk to them in camp. It’s feels so much more limiting in DA2. And I never had any trouble tells elves and quanai apart on my console. I think they did it to make it seem more “alien”, but retconnin, likeg always leaves people with a sour taste in their mouths. For example, the tell you all this stuff at the end of Awakenings, but then it’s all different in DA2. Either tell me nothing or stick with what you set up.

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