I beat DAII on Thursday…yes, that should give you an indication of how busy I am!
And as you may have seen in previous posts, I had a lot of strong feelings about the game. Regardless of how terrible some of the changes were (basically, they took all the things I didn’t like about Mass Effect 2 and added them to Dragon Age), I still played the game like an addict.
I have decided that instead of ranting, I will just take the number one worst and best things about the game and talk about them.
Number One Worst Aspect of the Game
The repetitive environments
Not only did Bioware create a shorter game (about forty hours compared to about 100) that only takes place in one city (verses the entire country of Ferelden), but they then made the perplexing decision to have only a few environments that the player then visits over and over again.
For example, anytime Hawke has to fix some shady business in the warehouse district, she had to head to the exact same building. We were supposed to suspend our disbelief and simply pretend that it was another warehouse. The same for evil bad guy/gal lairs and any sort of incident involving a cave.
The Dilemma of the Vanishing Map
On top of this location being exactly the same (the only differences were where you entered, which entrances were open, and where loot was located) the maps of the areas had the nerve to pretend it was the first time you visited each time.
Now, one would ask, Sarah, if you visited this area multiple times, you wouldn’t really end up needing the map, right?
Wrong. Some of these locations have splits in the road (for example, the Dalish camp on Sundermount) that could lead you far out of your way chasing the illusive quest icon. You could travel all the way to the top of Sundermount, for example, before discovering that in fact you were supposed to veer left and head down the path to a different cave. Simply having the map filled out forever after the first time you complete it would solve this annoying problem.
Bioware Ignoring Fans?
Now, it is not as if Bioware has not been told that the fans DO NOT approve of this kind of space reuse. The various DLC were heavily criticized for re-using areas from DA:O and DA:A and pretending they were new locations.
For example, in Leliana’s Song, she goes to the coast and it is mysteriously the same coast from Awakening. In Witch Hunt, at least, the reused locations were “explained” by the Warden saying, “Oh I’ve been there.”
So one would think that Bioware would take this hint to heart and try to give gamers all the bang for their buck in this already much-shorter game.
Sometimes I have just left a location and must immediately return. This really threw me out of the game and made me feel like Bioware does not care a lick about quality.
Number One Best Aspect of the Game
Ah, Bioware and characters. Like peanut butter and jelly. Like spam and rice. Like other good things that go together.
In DA:O, the character banter was hilarious. Many fans (myself included) had high hopes for DAII. We were not disappointed.
One has simply to look up the dialogue in the wiki to realize how funny some of those interactions are. I say some because some of those interactions are not funny at all. Bioware does a great job mingling funny jabs with venomous jabs.
Not only can the characters be your rival, they also have rivals within the party. Some of these rivalries include:
- Aveline and Isabela
- Fenris and any mage (Merrill, Anders, Bethany)
- Anders and just about any male character
- Sebastian and Aveline
- Everyone hates Carver except Merrill, who just never knows what he’s talking about.
- Sebastian and Fenris
- Varric and everyone (most rivalry with Carver and Sebastian, in my opinion, but still friendly)
- Isabela and Merrill
- Sebastian and Fenris
- Isabela and Sebastian
- Anders and Bethany
- Merrill and Sebastian
The rivalries are really interesting. Sometimes they say things so mean I find myself starting the “oooooh” chant, but there is no one nearby to join in (except the cats, but they don’t do it right). The mages versus the anti-mages (Sebastian, Fenris, and Aveline to a point) do the most verbal damage, leading me to sometimes not even take them along because it hurt my feelings. The fact that it bothers me so much shows how Bioware can get under your skin and immerse you in a story.
On the other hand, some of the friendships are really quite surprising. For example, Fenris and Sebastian form a friendship from Sebastian’s gentle guidance. Experienced Isabela takes an older sister role to naïve Merrill and a teasing but game role with Sebastian.
The party banter, nicknames, arguments, and the random parts where every member will join in (such as the part where everyone said “The Hanged Man” lol) just added to the depth of the game and made it much more enjoyable to walk around THE SAME DAGGONE DUNGEONS OVER AND OVER AGAIN.