DRAGON AGE 2 For a console gamer, it’s a good improvement on the prequel. Sadly, PC gamers don’t share that view. SHARAN M.
There are two ways a sequel can go — the first path is the oft treaded one and involves retaining the core gameplay and tweaking only the areas that truly require change and more often than not, it works for the fans.
The other path involves going for a massive overhaul in hopes of creating an incredibly new experience. It is very risky but when done right, can produce the next masterpiece.
Sadly, Dragon Age 2 does not go either way but instead, takes the horrible but true-to-the-times path of creating a game with console gamers in mind and not the PC loyalists.
Bioware did a tremendous job with Mass Effect 2. The changes were vast and initially, there were apprehensions on how it would pan out but once you started playing, you could tell yourself that it was worth it. That is called streamlining. In Dragon Age 2, the storyline is trimmed, the combat is flashy with little or no strategy involved and a few options that made the original such a hit on the PC were done away with so as to appease the console crowd. That is called dumbing-down. It comes as a massive surprise that a developer of Bioware’s stature has stooped to such levels.
DA2 is not bad. To be honest, it is a fine game. But compared to its predecessor, Dragon Age: Origins, it comes off as a bad attempt. Starting with the story, DA2 has just one linear path: that of Hawke, a refugee from Lothering who seeks to settle in Kirkwall and ultimately becomes the city’s Champion. Along the way you will battle thieves, mages, templars and tons of demons but the one glaring fact that confronts you is that you will not be slashing down on hordes of Darkspawn like you did in the first game. There are a few references to and appearances of characters from the first game but they are not much of an impact. And as in most RPGs, choices play a huge role and in true Bioware style, have far reaching consequences. Combat in DA:O was everything that an RPG fan could ask for. And with a PC-exclusive camera that would zoom out to provide a tactical overview of the battlefield, Bioware had hit all the right notes. DA2 though, does away with the immensely popular tactical-camera just to ‘provide an equal experience to gamers across all platforms’.
Focus on personality
Combat in DA2 is all about looking good. While the moves you can pull off are satisfying, it does feel like an RPG-hack-and-slash at times. Graphics and animations are top-notch and are a joy to look at. Characters are designed with great detail and have a personality of their own.
But when it comes to environment modelling, the designers deserve a hard one across the face. Every dungeon looks the same and almost every alley gives a feeling of déjà vu. The city of Kirkwall is beautiful but small and the least they could have done to spruce things up was to have created unique environments. That is one huge disappointment and will stick out like a sore thumb.
Voice acting, on the other hand, is on an entirely different planet. It gives so much life to characters that you start waiting with bated breath for them to engage in random conversation.
Overall, DA2 is a disappointment from a PC gamer’s point of view. Console gamers might feel like there are huge ‘improvements’ but once you’ve played the first one on the PC, all you’ll be doing is cursing Bioware for their ‘betrayal’. If you’ve played the first one on the console, DA2 is a definite buy. If you’re a PC loyalist, proceed with caution.
SHARAN M., III Year B.E, RMK College of Engineering and Technology.
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