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Customer Review

51 of 56 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dragon Age: Origins + Fable + Mass Effect 2, March 14, 2011
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Dragon Age 2 - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
I wish there were half-ratings, because I don't feel this is a baseline 3 star game. More like 3.5. Just not good enough to be a 4.

While I only experienced two freezes in the entire game, numerous things about the game bothered me. What stands out the most is the lack of creativity throughout the entire game. It didn't bother me so much that the whole game takes place in a single city, because if done correctly you would forget you're in just one city (and even if you remembered, you'd be amazed it was all one city).

I think the city of Denerim in Origins had just as many locations as this new city setting takes place in. And while a couple of the city locations are fairly large, you will travel every inch of them so many times the city loses its charm pretty quickly. And it's unfortunate, because one of the strengths or getting the player familiarized with an area is that certain locations will inevitably come to be associated with events in the game. There was such an instance while I was playing when I reached an area and I thought "Oh wow, this is where ______ was murdered." I won't reveal who because it would be a spoiler.

However, the failure of the game setting is that underground areas/caves/exterior beach levels all used the exact same design. Literally, they would just re-use the same cave for all caves (except one, I think, which was unique), and they would fill it with different enemies. Drop giant spiders, blood mages or whatever else in the cave and change the quest, problem solved. And then the design of the cave itself was ridiculous. Not only did I feel it was lazy, but it made cave exploration feel like a chore, when in Origins it was one of the most fun parts. What this means for the familiarization of locations is that the personal connection I would have otherwise felt was shattered because the same interior setting existed in multiple places.

And to expound on that point, I also felt a bit cheated in the game. Where in Origins the game took place along a large landmass and quests occurred all over it, the same locations are used over a period of ten years. So I'd take my time and work through nearly all the available quests, and then the game would skip ahead 1-3 years and suddenly I have to clear the same caves, deal with more gang problems, the same old thing. I found it cheap for one main reason. My first character was a "Good" guy. I helped out everyone I could, the best way I could. But then when the game skips ahead I'm supposed to buy that for the past three years my character was just absent from all events and did nothing to prevent the further decay of the city. It ruins the immersion.

And that's the main thing really killed the game for me. That even though "rushed" isn't really the word I would use to describe what was wrong with the game, it was sorely lacking in the creativity department.

The game still earns a 3.5 rating though, because especially the second half of the game, the story really picks up and gets really damn good. In the interest of keeping this review as short as possible, this is where I'll end my review. Dragon Age 2 was a game that had so much potential to be great, the ingredients were all there. But as with Mass Effect 2, I felt this sequel kind of moved sideways. It did some things better and some things worse than the original, and ultimately I was left feeling unsatisfied.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 17, 2011 5:13:03 AM PDT
Bernard John says:
I completely agree. This review is probably the least skewed look at the game to date. The game while interesting has major issues compared to the prior versons. The fact that you go through the same places over and over again in the game makes it annoying. the letters in this version are smaller and if you're playing on a small screen then you cannot read the wording, Apparently the races have a different look compared to the last versions of the game and there is no traveling what so ever...

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 17, 2011 7:33:09 AM PDT
R. Reining says:
Thanks! And if you haven't played the original I'd highly recommend it. The graphics are whatever, but the game itself is fantastic once you learn all the menu's and such.

The Qunari race look changed. Although I don't know if I missed something or not, but the Qunari in Origins never have horns, they were just bigger and more muscular humanoids. Now they look like demons. It's not something that bothered me, just kind of something that was stupid.

Another big gripe I had with this game was the pointless filler quests and the lack of quests with diplomatic solutions. There were numerous quests initiated by finding say, the remains of a Circle mage. And then you would return the remains to whoever and your character would say something dumb like "I believe you lost this...?" And the person would say "Oh...yeah never thought I'd see that again, thanks!" Like...I just handed you a dead person, this dialog is kinda mismatched.

And of course, the other quests. Are there (seriously) any quests that DON'T involve combat? It seemed like every single one of them had some sort of fighting, and it partially ruined one of the things I liked about this game which was the faster-paced combat (though why they didn't leave in "auto-attack" I'll never know).

Posted on Mar 20, 2011 5:57:18 PM PDT
It is actually refreshing to see an actual review of the game. I agree with everything in your review, and while the game is a disappointment I do enjoy it still. It is not great game, but it is definitely not as bad as others are making it out to be.

I just hope Bioware learns from this and tells EA to stick it next time they try to rush a release.

Posted on Mar 24, 2011 1:33:02 PM PDT
Paul Mosier says:
I've been saying this for a while. Certain items should have a 10 star or 5 half star rating system such as video games.

Posted on Apr 11, 2011 8:51:44 AM PDT
I totally agree with this review, one other thing that kinda annoyed me about the reuse of set locations was that nothing changed over 10 years!! The city "fell" into deeper chaos and filth but every area looked exactly the same, the characters looked exactly the same, there was no sign of age on anything! They could have at least attempted to add a bit of detail to city (since it basically was serving as a character itself) but nothing.

This game was definitely a mixture of lazy and rushed. A lot of people blame EA and maybe thats the truth, but over all the creators and designers could have worked on this a bit harder. I keep thinking DA is just the red headed step child of BIOWARE and Mass Effect is now their golden goose.
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Location: San Bernardino, CA

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