It's the week of Dragon Age II and given the game's hype and the ardent role-playing contingent here at PSXE, our second video commentary was inevitable.

You've read our review so now it's time to see a condensed version of that analysis over at our official YouTube Channel . You can also see it right here; it's aptly named, but as the review score indicates, it's a mostly positive reaction.

Really, I don't get the no-armor deal-io for everyone besides the main character. No matter how I try to reason that out, I just can't envision sitting there at a BioWare meeting, hearing this design concept, and everyone going, "yeah, sounds good. Let's do that." I just don't get it.

But besides that, we try to touch on the game's strengths and of course, this competent sequel is indeed recommended for fans of the genre. More to come at PSXE YouTube, so stay tuned.

Related Game(s): Dragon Age II

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Alienange
Alienange
11 years ago

It's so true, who the heck IS buying this that needs a dumbed down equipment system? I lol'd at that part of the video.

And the sound was great on this one. Thanks!

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

You're color looks a little funky.

Anyway, nice look at the game. I started it last night and so far I think it's great. It's like you said in the review there's been a lot of give and take. I like having a smoother experience and I like that my character is vocal and thus more human, I like the mass effect style conversation options and the story, and yet I can't figure out the lack of armor or the battles being all actiony and whatnot.

I'm still glad I didn't wait on the game but I do like me some customization of the whole party. Maybe it was just a short cut they took because this game seems to be going the route of Mass Effect, where if you aren't into any depth at all you can even auto level up and then just enjoy the action and story. You can only do your own armor in that game too.


Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 3/12/2011 11:11:29 AM

Beamboom
Beamboom
11 years ago

It's nice to see other players picking this one up at launch, I really think they deserve that!

About the armor issue: I've been thinking it's a shortcut too, but for different reaons: A pure technical laziness. The different models (party members) are physically very different from eachother. To create armor that fits all these different shapes is maybe a challenge?

I don't know 3D programming at all so I have no educated guesses here, all I know is that in every mmorpg I've played there is the issue of armor clipping into the player created character bodies, through the hair, through arms and whatnot, never looking really attached to the character.

In Dragon Age 2 all the models look really "tight", no problems like these at all. Maybe it's that simple?

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

I thought that could be it too. Another trade off basically, you get more diverse body types but they didn't want to spend the time with the armor. I see they didn't fix the weapons floating on the backs either.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

For all of it's flaws, White Knight Chronicles has no equipment clipping issues with armor and the player's avatar. The only issue I've seen is the occasional axe or bow sticking through a shield or cloak.

robinhood2010
robinhood2010
11 years ago

I just bought the signature edition. Ok, you can't equip armor on the party members, but you couldn't in Mass Effect either. I don't see it as all that bad, but to remove a feature from a game series us not a good idea.

Excelsior1
Excelsior1
11 years ago

i don't really see it as a deal breaker. the bland graphics in demo were a real turn off, though. i'm going to rent it to see if there was an improvement in the final code like there was in me2.

don't get me wrong, i love an inventory rich rpg, and i do enjoy equiping different items to experiment with their effects.

i did love fallout 3 despite its graphics. the pipboy and vats combat system were a lot of fun. that was the first wrpg that i enjoyed. there was a ton of content in the goty edition.


Last edited by Excelsior1 on 3/12/2011 12:50:56 PM

Beamboom
Beamboom
11 years ago

Bland graphics? I don't see what's bland with it at all. What rpg has better graphics, in your opinion?

Jawknee
Jawknee
11 years ago

Valkryia Chronicles, Eternal Sonata, FFXIII just to name a few.

Beamboom
Beamboom
11 years ago

I've not played those (except 15 minutes into FFXIII – oh boy how that game sucked. I tried, I really tried to like it, but I found not a single thing to like about it). Are they better RPGs, in your opinion? Or just better graphgics?

My point is that rpg is *so* much more than just graphics, so to judge a game like this on the graphics is just so wrong, in my opinion.


Last edited by Beamboom on 3/12/2011 6:52:29 PM

Jawknee
Jawknee
11 years ago

I can't say that they are better RPG's over all(well I can guess DA2 is probably much better than FFXIII, besides the graphics, but that's because I hated FFXIII, and while others consider FFXIII an RPG, I have a hard time seeing it as one)because I haven't played more than the demo for DA2. If I were to base my opinion squarely on the demo I would probably have to say Valkryia Chronicles and Eternal Sonata better floats my boat but I think that's just because I prefer JRPG's to Western ones. Not really into the "Lord of the Ringish" RPG's. Never really have been.

But from what I read from others Dragon Age seems like a pretty deep RPG overall.


Last edited by Jawknee on 3/12/2011 7:13:35 PM

kraygen
kraygen
11 years ago

I prefer the graphical style of WKC better than Dragon Age II. I would rather have the textures than the smooth glassy look.

Jawknee
Jawknee
11 years ago

Also I would agree that an RPG shouldn't be judged squarely on graphics. I still find FFIII, FFIV, FFVII, VIII, IX, X, XII, DragonQuest VIII and IX to be some of the best RPG's I have ever played. Still very much my favorites and they obviously have poor graphics for today's standards.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

Just don't play Dragon Age if you're using the red green blue composite HD plug in cables. For whatever reason Bioware games get a significant downgrade if you aren't using an HDMI cable.

Jawknee
Jawknee
11 years ago

Any idea what the native resolution for DA is?

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

Can't say that I do. Looks like your standard 720p though. I almost shat myself when I played the demo with the RGB cables in though (I used my HDMI elsewhere til a new one came) and it really looked 480p at best. All my other games played fine except the DAII demo and Mass Effect 2 so I assume it is a flaw with Bioware.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

I'd be surprised if the native resolution was better than 600p.


Last edited by TheHighlander on 3/13/2011 12:27:17 AM

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

I'm surprised, it is apparently 720p. Bioware uses MLAA on the PS3 which according to the graphics gurus at Digital Foundry does extremely well, even against the uber high settings on a PC gaming rig. Color me surprised.

They did however note that the PS3 version has better framerates that the 360 version, but suffers screen tear. Their analysis essentially came down to choosing between the occasionally low frame rate on the 360 or the occasional screen tearing on the PS3. Apparently they felt that the pS3 was superior in cut scenes, and has a slight visual edge over the 360, in the end they'd select the PS3 version over the 360.

And, on that bombshell, I'll end!

SiLeNt sOuL
SiLeNt sOuL
11 years ago

i bought the game i spent couple of hours when i was about to change party members armor i just realize the game wont let me change it. i was like wtf!. only the main character the game let me change. i was upset also the level up gap is 50 why 99 but noo 50 come on bioware this is getting annoying. but it a great game.

Dancemachine55
Dancemachine55
11 years ago

I really don't see what all the fuss is about. This game is fantastic!!

I don't really have time to spend levelling up everybody, choosing weapons and armour for every character depending on the type of fight coming up, and I'm sure a lot of people out there are like me and just have little time to spend on games.

I'm happy to just focus on story and good but quick gameplay. Sure, it is a shame to remove features, perhaps even bizarre, but I'm sure Bioware have their reasons. (What's the bet it's the age old favourite "open it up to a wider audience" reason, hmm?)

FM23
FM23
11 years ago

Definitely the best storytelling so far this year, but there's no real story arc. You can see something brewing in the back round, but I haven't gotten far enough in the main plot for it to slap me in the face and I'm already 30hrs in…lol Defnitely a satisfying game, more than I can say with my experience with KZ3 this year. I could care less about the armor thing…never made a difference for me and I'm glad they "streamlined" the combat…its the reason why I didn't want to buy DAO's.

kraygen
kraygen
11 years ago

Well, one of my favorite things to do in an rpg is equip my party, find new gear, pick and choose what to have them wear based on stats and defensive properties.
While I know I will still get it at some point, that is quite the horrific blow to the game imo.

Don't really care for the graphical changes either. Some of it does look better, less gritty and dirty like Ben says in the video, but now it is texture free and looks too smooth.

As for the combat, I know that as a mage the need to pause and aim is much more necessary, but I still say that if you play a warrior or rogue, it could easily be classified as a hack n slash rpg. You could assign a health potion to one of your buttons and and rarely have need to pause, but just because you can pause doesn't take away from the fact that as a warrior or rogue you can button mash.

Don't get me wrong an rpg is an rpg, the only reason I have a problem with DA2 being hack n slash is that the first one wasn't at all and when they said they were improving the mechanic, I thought it would be more strategic, instead they went the other route.

I'll get it eventually, but they already have $20 worth of add ons, which is why I'm waiting a year and getting the complete addition.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

hmm, you're party members are going to run out of stamina and health (become useless or die) a lot if you are just hacking away with your main character.

kraygen
kraygen
11 years ago

why do you say that, what buttons you hit with your main character shouldn't make a difference on your other party members health and stamina.

Unless you're playing a healing mage, other than that I don't see what a warrior could do for them, unless you're talking buffs and then there's no reason for you to not be hitting the buff button too.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

Kraygen,

It's Gauntlet 2011 – Elf needs healing badly….

kraygen
kraygen
11 years ago

Understand gauntlet reference now, but not the elf needs healing part.


Last edited by kraygen on 3/13/2011 12:43:28 AM

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

In Gauntlet, when a character's health reached a low level the game's voice over would intone ominously to announce the problem with phrases like;

Elf needs food badly!
Warrior needs food badly!
Your life force is running out!
Valkyrie…is about to die!

Up to 4 people could play as the arcade cabinet features 3 control sticks and button layouts. It was a great hack'n'slash waste of quarters back in the day.

kraygen
kraygen
11 years ago

Oh I see. lol, that's pretty funny.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

Well, for one you need to switch to your other characters and heal them up. You can't ignore them.

FM23
FM23
11 years ago

Nothing is wrong with the new mechanics, its just doesn't fit your preference. For me it does and so I'm loving this…too bad you can't let your mind free and try something new becasue this is definitely a great game.

kraygen
kraygen
11 years ago

Why does everyone think I won't like DA2. My mind isn't free? Did you even read my post. I don't dislike this style of gameplay, I simply said again and again, that it's different from DA:O and I knew it was going to be different, I simply wished they had gone more strategy and less action.

I prefer a more strategic style to a more action style, but I play and enjoy many action rpgs. I will play DA2 and I will enjoy it for the most part, not happy about the new armor situation though.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

The decision on not allowing you to change an NPC party member's armor is a really odd, *really* odd.

I hate to say it, and I know that party of it is watching on the Internet, but graphically, I found the game to look inferior to White Knight Chronicles in many ways. Yeah, I know, no one will agree with that, but that's what it looked like to me.

It looked to me like the game starts sacrificing texture detail at anything other than point blank range, so everything gets a very smoothed, clean look as you move away, and then as you get closer the detail of the texture becomes apparent. This seemed true of the environment and the characters.

At one point though when you were running around demonstrating the combat, I was struck by a feeling that I haven't had since playing Gauntlet back in the 90's with my college friends at the amusement arcade. The graphics seemed very tiled, almost like the same tiles were being re-used over and over, like they would have been in Gauntlet. It may have been the game play which also seemed quite 'gauntlet-ish' in a fully 3D RPG kind of way. I noticed a lot of repeated textures among the fallen enemies and other remains and blood stains too, this added to the arcade hack'n'slash game impression.

This just doesn't look to me like an RPG as much as it does a retro hack'n'slash adventure on modern hardware.

Meh.

kraygen
kraygen
11 years ago

Like I said above, never played Gauntlet, but after reading this post I now get that reference and I couldn't agree with you any more.

And it's not like I have anything against that type of game, it's just not the route that I was expecting Dragon age to take and not the route I would have preferred them to take.

Qubex
Qubex
11 years ago

Loved Gauntlet in its day Highlander… but the DA2 demo, visually, was a disappointment. From what I picked up from the Mass Effect 2 demo, I think it is a better looking game than DA2… but I am basing this off the demo's.

Both will need to wait for a price drop before I pick em…

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

Jawknee
Jawknee
11 years ago

I agree with you, Though White Knight isn't the best it has some nice landscapes and the sky looks quite nice. In my opinion, Dragon Age shouldn't look as dated as it does. We are too far into this generation to expect games to look that way.

kraygen
kraygen
11 years ago

White Knight also had very pretty water and I loved the armor.

Qubex
Qubex
11 years ago

Thanks Ben for the commentary video… cut scene was ok'ish… textures looked a little low res, and the irregular puppet movement still has a ways to go to making the whole scene look more realistic and believable.

I still found the cut scenes in Uncharted 2 the most engaging I have seen on a video game… it feels like you are watching a movie… with the right type of framing and enough close ups to tug an emotional response from you when studying the characters facial expressions.

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"


Last edited by Qubex on 3/13/2011 1:06:10 AM

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

Uh…pretty sure we shouldn't be comparing cut-scenes in DAII and Uncharted. 😉

___________
___________
11 years ago

im really looking forward to starting this.
cant believe how poor it looks though!
i mean what the hell, look at ME2 then look at this.
you would think a totally different no name developer made it!
oh well, as long as the storys as good as ME2s ill be happy.

Gabriel013
Gabriel013
11 years ago

Great video commentary 🙂

Crabba
Crabba
11 years ago

Ben, unfortunately the reason they did these changes is called streamlining, and to "make it more accessible" which is so popular these days.

I don't like it, but that seems to be the catchphrase nowadays, and Bioware did the same thing with Mass Effect 2, I didn't like it then and it looks to me like I will not like the changes they made in DA2.