It has been almost a year since I started and finished Dragon Age II, and if you remember from my game log I wasn’t too pleased by the end of the game. Here’s an excerpt from an entry dated May 18th, 2011:
“Gripe #1: Lack of variation with locations. Okay, I get it. Hawke is supposed to become the “Champion of Kirkwall”, so it only makes sense that most of your adventure takes place in and around the surrounding areas of the ancient city. But for the love of God—I’m over 20 hours in (note: I’ve spent some of that time finishing side quests) and the only change of scenery I’ve had is in the dark and dreary Deep Roads. And I hate those. But, it’s still early. If a greater variety of locations became accessible, I’ll wipe this gripe clean.
Gripe #2: Repetitive layouts. Not only are traversable locations the same (seriously, how many times can I visit Lowtown, Sundermount or the Wounded Coast?) the dungeon, hideout, housing, etc layouts are spitting images of each other. A cavern’s layout in Sundermount will look the same as an apostates’ hideout off of the Wounded Coast. An underground passageway hidden in Lowtown will look exactly like the Blood Mage’s experimenting grounds in Darktown. Bioware, in a failed attempt “mix” things up and make up for the lack of innovation, sealed off certain doors with an impassible cement block. So, in layout A the door may be sealed, but in layout B it’s open. IT’S LIKE A WHOLE NEW DUNGEON! /sarcasm FAIL, Bioware, FAIL. ::grumble::
Gripe #3: Character interaction. I can’t quite figure the character interaction mumbo-jumbo out. I like the idea of each character having their own “home base”, but I haven’t seen any significance to it. Sure, you can visit that character in their home, and some quests require you to do so, but a random visit to a character won’t get you anywhere; a conversation wheel isn’t initiated, and oftentimes you’ll only get a one liner out of them (and that one liner is generally something like “We should move on” or “Let’s go”).
The approval rating system flat out sucks. I’m disappointed and a half by this. Unlike in Dragon Age: Origins where you had to work your way up from “Neutral” to “Love” (or “Friendly” if you didn’t wish to romance that character), Dragon Age II has “Friend” and “Rival” with a bar connecting them and a little pointer that marks your approval. That’s it. There is no indication as to where you stand with a character. Do they consider you a friend? Foe? Are they interested in you? Your guess is as good as mine.”
Oh, how reading those brings back stinging memories…
At PAX East (y’know, that convention I didn’t go to /bitch) Mike Laidlaw talked a little about Dragon Age 3, and while I haven’t seen the video of the panel I have read several articles about it – and let me tell you, if what he says is true I am prepared to, like, jump out of my building and go streaking in a crazy fit of excite.
He noted three main points during the panel, and stressed that Bioware is definitely looking at player feedback. One of the main things he mentioned in particular was that Bioware was going to try to “stop reusing levels.” OH THANK GOD. ::prepares to jump out of building::
“If we really have to go somewhere urban, let’s not go to Kirkwall. Let’s go somewhere new. Maybe somewhere a little more – French.”
::jumps out of building:: ::screams:: Hello, Orlais!!!
He also said he hopes to include “decisions that matter” and that Bioware is working on fixing the importing “weirdness” that occurred in prior releases. He also said it might be a possibility to customize colors and fabric textures for your party members’ armor.
::rips of clothing:: YEAAAAAAH BOY!!! ::proceeds to streak::