Some Parts of Dragon Age II "Must be Improved" In Dragon Age III

Illustration for article titled Some Parts of emDragon Age II/em Must be Improved In emDragon Age III/em

Dragon Age II was, for many, a bit of a disappointment. Too many recycled environments, too many cheap waves of bad guys to chop through. It was, you could argue, a bit of a rush job.

If it makes you feel any better, developers BioWare have heard your complaints. On the company's forums, writer Mike Laidlaw directly addresses these in a lengthy post, of which the highlight is:

Following the launch of DA II, I did some interviews and some of you interpreted my statements to mean I was blind to the concerns that have been voiced repeatedly on these forums. That was never my intent, nor the message I wanted to convey.

I am absolutely aware of the concerns voiced here. Issues like level re-use, the implementation of wave combat, concerns about the narrative and significance of choice and so on have all been not only noted, but examined, inspected and even aided me (and many, many others on the team) in formulating future plans. Further, I'm not only aware of the concerns, but I agree that there are aspects of DA II that not only can but must be improved in future installments. And that is precisely our intent.


He later adds that, in terms of "crafting" the game's slightly different take on the world and story, BioWare learned some stuff. "Some from what worked, but even more from what didn't."

So, for those despairing at the future of the franchise, maybe that's something to hold onto!

Illustration for article titled Some Parts of emDragon Age II/em Must be Improved In emDragon Age III/em

Thank you! [BioWare, via Beefjack]

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Repeated assets aside, I thoroughly enjoyed Dragon Age 2. It was a good game, and narratively, a bold move. The shift away from the Wardens and the Blight was an unexpected and fascinating decision, declaring that there was far more to its world than what it borrowed from Tolkien. It was the first game in a long time where I really let myself pause to read all the notes and books scattered around the world, letting myself steep in the lore. By the end of the game I was satisfied and enjoyed the journey. I could see what they were going for, and could appreciate it. It was a rushed and imperfect game, yes, but still a good one.

Unfortunately, after playing the Witcher 2, Dragon Age 2 can't help but look a bit like a glossy, gory cartoon. As much as I enjoyed the game, in terms of atmosphere, it was overly polished (on the surface) and felt a bit hollow. In the opening, for example, the story of your escape from Lothering is told in a flash, bombastic style - and then is proved to be Varric embelishing. Yet, when you get what is supposed to be the 'real' story moments later, it still felt cartoony - you didn't ever feel like weak, powerless refugees - how could you when you're already carrying giant swords and inexplicably have the moves of an Arena trained warrior?

DA2 had plenty of style, but I'm not sure it ever had much in the way of atmosphere.

Bioware, beyond looking at the flaws of their own game, should take a good look at the Witcher 2 and take note -

If they could nail the atmosphere and deep heart of that game, Dragon Age 3 could be the game we were hoping for all along.