66 of 73 people found the following review helpful
Bugs, Glitches, and Heartache
, March 14, 2011
This review is from: Dragon Age 2 - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
+1 Month and still no patch.
Review for the XBOX 360 version of the game.
I've loved Bioware's games. Dragon Age Origins is one of my favorite games. My first play through took 60 hours and when I finished, I promptly restarted the game. The story and the conflict were engaging. The characters were unique and likable. All-in-all DA:O was a delightful throwback to games like Baldur's Gate. I can't recall many games in recent memory that hooked me as fast.
However, here I am, debating on whether or not I will ever play through Dragon Age 2 again. This game needed at least another year or two of development. It's either the result of rushed development, tight resources, or laziness.
First the Good: The graphics on the XBOX 360 version are an improvement over DA:O. The animations are improved. The soundtrack is better. The button pressing combat creates a hack-n-slash experience with mixed results. However, it does provide a more interactive experience than DA:O where you tapped a button and then watched as your character began engaging the enemy. Although, I imagine PC users will likely be ticked by this change.
The story has some amazing moments. Whoever wrote the Qunari pieces in the second act should get a raise. Those scenes were all gripping and amazingly done. Also a few of your party members really stand out. The characters "Varric" and "Merill" are great and their dialogue is very well done.
The Bad: Good graphics don't mean anything if you see the same maps and the same textures throughout the entire game. By the end of the first act, I had grown tired of Kirkwall. I had seen everything. Every cave, every mansion, every beach rely on the exact same underlying map. So the cave is always the same. It always looks the same. Bioware changes things up by blocking where you can go on the map, but 1/3 of the way through the game and I found I had seen everything. This just feels lazy. Maybe they ran out of time or resources or perhaps they were constrained by the limits of the DVD format. I don't know and I don't care. This sucks. 30-45 hours of the same thing.. over and over and over.....
The story details a political conflict. It's a political conflict that I don't want any part of because there is obviously no winner. There is no "good" or "bad" decision. Just shades of gray. No blight, just politics. I'm not rushing towards a great conclusion. I'm rushing into a Greek tragedy! Characters behave irrationally. Only thing I knew for certain was whatever decision I made, I'd pay for it later. Beyond that, your choices don't matter. You have the same boss fights regardless of which side you ultimately pick. It doesn't make story sense. I thought my choices would determine who the ultimate baddie would be, but no, you end up fighting both sides regardless of what you do. It feels forced. I played as a mage. The game centers around the conflict between mages and templars, but most templars didn't even seem to notice the fact my character was a mage.
Then there are bugs. One character's quest became bugged. It was a bug that revealed the ending of her quest chain, thus spoiling the story. I went online and found that many other people have experienced the same thing. A problem even more noteworthy if you have engaged in a "romance" with said character.
A few other bugs my friends and I have noticed:
* No achievements for DA2 Exiled Prince DLC. That's 5 achievements for 130 gamer points that currently do not work.
* Final boss fight glitches. Character remains stunned and villain is finished off by NPCs.
* You can't finish quests in the third act. NPCs fail to engage when you approach.
* Targeting problems with mages.
* Monsters in various boss fights fail to appear, but still damage player and NPCS.
* Game crashes when loading an area often resulting in a corrupted save file.
* Game triggers that are supposed to reference decisions from DA:O, Golemns of Amgarak, and Witch Hunt fail to work.
The game allows you to import your save from DA:O. For the most part, it doesn't matter. You get an extra side quest or get a forced cameo. Your choices don't impact much of anything. However, on a few occasions where the game could reference my decisions, I discovered that DA2 got my decisions wrong. I didn't spare the Architect!
On normal difficulty and higher, battles go on too long. My characters always feel woefully underpowered. Monsters will seize on one character (almost always the rogue). At this point you run said character around for a bit waiting for monsters to engage someone else. It's stupid, but one of the only things I've found to work in some of the tougher fights. Party members ignore commands. There's a cool down on potions and an increased cool down on healing spells.
I seriously could go on, but I'll spare you. I'm not alone in my complaints. Several of my friends pre-ordered as well. We've had group chat sessions that have turned into something of a Dragon Age 2 therapy session. Honestly, I'm hurt. I loved DA:O.
I pre-ordered this game and I won't make that mistake again. I'll wait for reviews for Mass Effect 3 and any subsequent DA game.
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