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Author Topic: Dragon Age: Origins 2 Comic Con impressions  (Read 1130 times)
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Dimmona
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« on: July 24, 2010, 08:01:20 AM »

Dragon Age 2 Impressions
So I got a chance to play Dragon Age 2 at the private showing at Comic Con today, and figured I'd write up my impressions. Note that we were not allowed to take any pictures or whatnot, but they said to talk about as many details as you like. The first 10 minutes was a presentation by the lead producer of DAO1&2 talking about the major changes from the previous game. This was followed by 10 minutes of the same guy playing through a level to introduce more of these features, followed by 15 minutes to try playing the same level ourselves. The lead designer was also present (along with many more of the devs), and were all very open and friendly when it came to questions and feedback.

At any rate, there were four main changes presented in detail as bullet points in the presentation portion, so I'll post my impressions in a similar format.

Graphics
They said the #1 negative feedback from the first game was the quality of the graphics, so that was a large area of focus. One of the developers in a sidebar conversation was saying that they spent a lot of time working on book cases, tables, vases, and other random crap in the other game that the player largely ignored - so in DAO2 they removed most of those objects to focus on higher poly counts for the character models and things like castles/terrtain/etc.

Another big point was that for a casual playing watching DAO1, it looked similar to almost every other fantasy RPG out there (WoW, others were mentioned) so they intentionally were changing the art style to be unique and make the game stand out so that "when players see screens in a magazine or in a commercial, they can tell it is EA/DAO2". That said, I was kind of unimpressed. Yes, the characters were much more detailed and it was a big leap over DAO1 (which isn't saying much), but based on the limited demo I saw I don't think it's anywhere near Mass Effect 2 in terms of graphics fidelity. Also, the art style didn't really look that unique at all - most of the players had enlarged chins/foreheads but it made everyone look like WoW dwarves. Also, you could only see the art style during cut scenes - during normal play it really didn't look much different outside of the killer new combat animations, which brings me to....

Combat
By far the biggest change, they felt combat felt too slow and unresponsive in the first game so for this one they basically made it into a quasi-action game, at least from the standpoint of attacking with the main character. You are now actively doing various combos and special moves, which are basically the same talents and spells from the first game but the combat moves so fast it does seem more akin to an action game. That said, you can still pause the game and give orders - their big tag line was "Plan like a general; fight like a Spartan". Spells are now all instant cast, and your warriors go into talents immediately as well - I guess the common theme here is that technically it kind of plays out like DAO1 just at 3x the speed.

Animations were great, and each class has unique finishing animations for bosses. Whereas the warrior would crawl up to the head of an ogre and stab it in the face to finish it off, finishing the same fight with a mage would cause her to summon giant hands to come out of a portal and pull the ogre to shreds.

I asked the producer if they were making it more RPG Lite similar to Mass Effect 2, and he said it was quite the opposite - all the same leveling/etc. from the previous game is there, but now with even more customization. He mentioned you can actually customize and level up individual spells such as the fireball as well.

Time will tell how the system works, but it definitely feels different than DAO1.

Silent Player/Dialog
Rather than being the silent protagonist, the main character has a voice this time. The dialog system has changed to be extremely similar to Mass Effect, which is a good thing. One additional thing they added which I liked a lot is an icon next to each dialog choice to indicate the 'type' of response it is meant to be - helpful, diplomatic, angry, etc. The producer said that the icons weren't necessarily going to be there for every response, but definitely for any crucial decisions.

Also, while the main character from DAO1 will not be in this game, you can still import your save game from DAO1 and all the decisions from that game will carry over. "Mass Effect focuses on the story of the main player, Shepard, while DAO focuses on the story of the world".

Framed Narrative
The game's story will take place in the context of different people 'retelling' portions of the main character's life over a 10 year period. They are going to use this device as a way to skip forward in time at certain points to see the effects of previous choices. Also, one inTteresting thing is that the game seemed to match who was telling the story - so for example, in the demo the storyteller recounting the part of the game we were playing was an old warrior who tended to exaggerate his stories a lot, which meant the levels you played and some of the over the top things your character did matched this. It will be interesting to see how this plays out....


I also tried Dead Space 2 at the same event, and while I was a huge fan of the first game I just couldn't get into it as much for some reason....
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« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2010, 08:08:00 AM »

thanks for the impressions you lucky SOB  Tongue
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« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2010, 08:38:25 AM »

I've got mixed feelings about what's been presented so far, but adding voice to the main character gets a big thumbs-up from me. The lack of speech for the main character in the first game was always kind of disturbing.

For those who complained about the graphics in the first game, did you play it on a reasonably powerful PC with the view fully zoomed out? The game looked hand-painted at that scale. It was absolutely beautiful. When you zoomed in the effect was lost, but it worked very well in tactical view. I hope they retain that.
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« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2010, 10:13:32 AM »

i think those who complained about the graphics were obviously playing the 360 version nod


are the graphics anywhere in the style of the concept art we saw a few weeks ago?(if anything that Concept art looks a little like a warped Manga/Anime)


so the game is actually called Dragon Age:Origins 2...i thought they would of gone with another subtitled name and without the number as well maybe


i am glad that games are now starting to get the main character to have a voice,i got sick of people talking to main characters with shit blowing up around them and the main guy not saying a thing..Gordon Freeman is main suspect here...i know they have given Issac from Dead Space a voice in its sequel....i think it may have been Bullwinkle who said that he speaks out loud his own reply when playing those games icon_lol
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marcusjm
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« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2010, 10:27:46 AM »

Was the graphical improvements similar in the 360 version? What version were you testing?
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« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2010, 03:44:06 PM »

Quote from: metallicorphan on July 24, 2010, 10:13:32 AM

so the game is actually called Dragon Age:Origins 2...i thought they would of gone with another subtitled name and without the number as well maybe

I've heard the subtitle is supposed to be Rise to Power, and that's what their initial desciption hints at too:

Quote
Experience the epic sequel to the 2009 Game of the Year from the critically acclaimed makers of Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect 2. You are one of the few who escaped the destruction of your home. Now, forced to fight for survival in an ever-changing world, you must gather the deadliest of allies, amass fame and fortune, and seal your place in history. This is the story of how the world changed forever. The legend of your Rise to Power begins now.

they must have capitalized 'Rise to Power' for a reason.....
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« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2010, 06:19:38 PM »

DA2 was the cover story in Game Informer's latest issue.  I was pretty surprised at the low quality of screenshots they used.  The first two shots were released and I thought "ok, they picked some bad shots.  It happens.  I'm sure the article will have better ones."  Nope, the ones in the article are just as rough looking.  I'm sure gameplay and story and all that will be every bit as good and better as the first.  But given how much they've talked about improving the tech overall, it was disappointing to see the shots looking like they could've come straight out of the first game (IMO).
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« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2010, 07:01:41 PM »

Quote
Graphics
They said the #1 negative feedback from the first game was the quality of the graphics, so that was a large area of focus. One of the developers in a sidebar conversation was saying that they spent a lot of time working on book cases, tables, vases, and other random crap in the other game that the player largely ignored - so in DAO2 they removed most of those objects to focus on higher poly counts for the character models and things like castles/terrtain/etc.

I'm losing interest fast in DA2...

Removed most ambient objects in favor of higher poly counts?  Holy Fuck.

Translation: Taking the easy route and making this game yet another chuck another sequel off the shelf designed to be as generic as possible with omg new super high poly count characters so it must be the next mostest awesomest game the kids just gotta have!!!

Wasn't the incredibly cool levels and environments part of what people really enjoyed about the original?  Juw how fucking boring would it have been without all the ambient design?  oh yea, it's another room with 4 grey walls and....oh wait, this one has a box in the corner, that's different!

The environments in DA1 felt real, like they fit, like the characters actually belonged there, like part of a really cool world that worked and fit because of all that ambient design.  How freaking boring would the mage tower be without all those well thought out living chambers and libraries and store rooms and labratories with all that stuff everywhere that just made it look like it really was the home of the circle of mages....not just another set of rooms with 4 grey walls that they shoved npcs into and called it a mage tower?

Are you freaking kidding me?   They better only be talking about the console versions with this bullcrap.

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« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2010, 08:20:36 PM »

Not sure how I missed that but I have to agree with Fuzz. Give me my ambient objects!
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« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2010, 08:22:28 PM »

Still not sure whether this preview concerns either of the consoles or the PC version, please clarify.

As for streamlining, well I trust Bioware just like I always did to put together a solid game experience, hopefully some of the (great) lessons from ME2 makes it into DA2.
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« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2010, 08:28:10 PM »

Quote
As for streamlining, well I trust Bioware just like I always did to put together a solid game experience, hopefully some of the (great) lessons from ME2 makes it into DA2.

Yeah, you're sword will automatically upgrade to the best one and you'll have to research new stuff by finding resources via a mini game where you get to dig through piles of dragon poop.
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« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2010, 08:45:14 PM »

Quote from: CeeKay on July 26, 2010, 08:28:10 PM

Quote
As for streamlining, well I trust Bioware just like I always did to put together a solid game experience, hopefully some of the (great) lessons from ME2 makes it into DA2.

Yeah, you're sword will automatically upgrade to the best one and you'll have to research new stuff by finding resources via a mini game where you get to dig through piles of dragon poop.

If that means you get a good flow in the game then this is the best course of action. Only those who played PnP games with crap DMs had time to analyse their equipment, the good DMs made you forgot there
was a real world out there. This is how a good CRPG should be, ie, not too far from ME2.
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« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2010, 09:11:47 PM »

This whole argument has been played out several times and really isn't worth the time. I'm right, you're wrong, live with it  icon_twisted
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« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2010, 10:01:39 PM »



Hopefully modders won't let us down with DA2...maybe if they're good enough they can make it as good as DA1 is today....
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« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2010, 07:48:41 AM »

Quote from: marcusjm on July 26, 2010, 08:22:28 PM

Still not sure whether this preview concerns either of the consoles or the PC version, please clarify.

They showed the console version at ComicCon.  In a lot of ways, it appears to have been handled poorly and given a lot of incorrect impressions.  The official boards have several dev responses along the lines of "that media member didn't really understand . . . " and them then having to explain things.  Basically, the console version of DA2 is supposed to have a more direct, action-oriented combat system while the PC version will not change much, if at all.  The demo shown was meant to highlight combat, and as such there were limited dialogue options, making it appear to some that conversations were going to be streamlined.  The combat shown was also meant to be similar to some late-game moments in DA where the player would one-hit kill certain mobs to create a more epic moment.  It's hard to explain that anymore without being spoilerish, so skip the following if you don't want to know some things about how the game is going to be structured.

Spoiler for Hiden:
The game is framed as a series of flashback/stories about the rise to power over 10 years of the main character.  As such, some sequences will intentionally be presented as more "mythic" moments then realistic moments, to reflect the idea that the story is being told as the teller understands it as opposed to what really actually happened.
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« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2010, 08:35:49 AM »

Quote from: Sarkus on July 27, 2010, 07:48:41 AM

Quote from: marcusjm on July 26, 2010, 08:22:28 PM

Still not sure whether this preview concerns either of the consoles or the PC version, please clarify.

They showed the console version at ComicCon.  In a lot of ways, it appears to have been handled poorly and given a lot of incorrect impressions.  The official boards have several dev responses along the lines of "that media member didn't really understand . . . " and them then having to explain things.  Basically, the console version of DA2 is supposed to have a more direct, action-oriented combat system while the PC version will not change much, if at all.  The demo shown was meant to highlight combat, and as such there were limited dialogue options, making it appear to some that conversations were going to be streamlined.  The combat shown was also meant to be similar to some late-game moments in DA where the player would one-hit kill certain mobs to create a more epic moment.  It's hard to explain that anymore without being spoilerish, so skip the following if you don't want to know some things about how the game is going to be structured.

Spoiler for Hiden:
The game is framed as a series of flashback/stories about the rise to power over 10 years of the main character.  As such, some sequences will intentionally be presented as more "mythic" moments then realistic moments, to reflect the idea that the story is being told as the teller understands it as opposed to what really actually happened.

It's almost like Bioware's PR department decided not even to try for now.
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« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2010, 09:35:31 AM »

Thank you for that Sarkus. Personally I like the more direct approach but the graphics could have done with some improvements.

Mass Effect 2 looks great so why can't Dragon Age?
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« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2010, 11:57:00 AM »

short making off(4minutes 35sec)shows a bit of footage,opening sequence and later on combat,not sure what version it is,he does use a 360 controller but i am guessing its the PC version(i have no sound ATM so can't hear what they say)........looks pretty anyway...well,better than the 360 version of the first one anyhow


http://gameinformer.com/games/news/m/mediagallery/430825.aspx
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