“Dragon Age: Cohesion” or “A Short Wishlist”
Dragon Age: Origins was a great game. It took me 106 hours and some change to complete the game, and it was an exhilarating experience. Sure I had some problems with the game, but all things said and done it was a terrific gaming experience, epic in scope, terrifying even in its conclusion, and bold in execution.
Dragon Age 2 launches March 8, 2011, and by the looks of it, not only does it already address several of the issues players had with the game, it also improves on existing systems to further streamline the overall experience.
Dave Hinkle of Joystiq had a chance recently to sit down with BioWare and try out some of the systems, and what he reported on seems to have a lot of potential. If you don’t want to read the whole thing, here is a quick summary:
- There is a central narrative that recounts the series of events
- The narrative is broken up into several self-contained ‘acts’; this helps track the sheer volume of quests you have, and never allows the game to boggle you with too many
- The classes are much more distinct, for instance, the rogue in the first game was a jack of most trades, master of none
- Your previous decisions will get imported and have an impact on the world
- Several old characters will return, including Flemeth and Morrigan
- Graphically, all three version will look relatively the same, but closer to the PC version in the first installment; the graphical overhaul is extensive and everything looks a lot better
- The dialogue system will give visual clues to indicate the tone of a particular option
The above, more or less, covers my wish-list. The self-contained act system, what BioWare refers to as the ‘frame narrative’, is sigh of relief. I recall at one stage mid-game I had so many quests in my log that I couldn’t figure out what to start and where to finish. If I didn’t play for a day, it took me a good half hour to sort out what I was working on, and make my way there. In short, it was a nightmare and clunky quest log didn’t particularly help either.
There are, however, a few exceptions that have not been addressed. These things really irked me the last time around, and I sincerely hope they get fixed this time:
- The dungeon crawls sucked.For the love of god guys, I understand the need to build dungeons in an RPG, but they don’t need to span the length and breadth of Satan’s colon. The dungeon romps were unforgiving in the first installment, and I sincerely hope BioWare either breaks up the crawls, or streamlines them to give the player a break in the middle. For anyone who has played the game, two crawls particular standout for me. The first was on-route to the Urn of Sacred Ashes. The second, *shudder*, was the romp through The Fade. God that was long. And complicated. And long.
- Storage and Respec. These two issues will fixed via later patches in the first game, but during the first play-through, it was a huge pain to constantly balance everything that you needed to carry and everything that you needed to store. The limited inventory space ensured that you were constantly selling things, even items that you would need later, simply because there was no room left. Much as I loved most of my characters, one gripe I had was about the unforgiving nature of the respec system. If you picked up a skill, you were stuck with it for the rest of the game, even if realize post execution that it was the most useless ability in the game.
- And finally BioWare, please hire a jumping animator. It will introduce new moves and gameplay mechanisms to the game, and allow the characters to experience gravity like Sir Isaac Newton would want!
Only four months to go. Two if you count the Facebook tie-in. Can’t wait!