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Dragon Age II Released 168

Today marks the US launch of Dragon Age II, the sequel to BioWare's popular 2009 RPG Dragon Age: Origins. Like its predecessor and other BioWare RPGs, Dragon Age II is non-linear and has extensive dialog, though this time the story focuses on a particular character, Hawke, whose race and identity you can't change. A demo of the game is available, and early opinions noted both the impressive art direction and less punishing difficulty settings. BioWare has also released an optional ~1GB texture pack for the PC version that bumps up the level of detail for owners of high end computers. They explained some of the technological changes they made in a couple of blog posts. It's available for Windows, OS X, the PS3, and the Xbox 360.
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Dragon Age II Released

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    I personally liked the first game because of the way the story
  • by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2011 @02:07PM (#35421124)
    Another nose-dive for productivity in the developed world!
    • Not until they lower the price from $60 for the PC version it's not.
      • by ZeRu ( 1486391 )

        That's why I'm going to wait another 6 months or so until buying it, when they release some kind of "Ultimate Edition" with all the million DLC's that's going to be released in the meantime, and for half the original price.

        With all the discounts on Steam, who would want to pay $60 for a game? I have yet to START playing The Witcher which I purchased more than two months ago.

        • by mcvos ( 645701 )

          I'm hoping that Dragon Age Origins is somewhat affordable now. Last time I looked at it, it still cost €45, which is a bit steep. (I don't doubt the game is easily worth that much if you actually have the time to play it, but my time is limited.)

          But The Witcher was so excellent that I'll probably buy The Witcher 2 as soon as it's released. (Possibly on gog.com without any DRM.)

      • Try living in Australia. It's selling for $89.99 over here. Given the current exchange rate that means we'll be paying about $87.50 US for it. Console games regularly sell for over $100. You're complaining about paying $60 for it? I'd love to be able to pay $60.
    • Comment removed based on user account deletion
  • I have been a huge fan of Bioware games since Baldur's Gate and they continue to churn out awesomely produced games in spite of the current gaming economy.

    • These days the only Bioware games that haven't been shit are the ones that weren't massively hyped. Mass Effect and SW:KOTOR were great. ME2 and DA:O are terrible and I regret purchasing them.
    • I really liked Jade Empire and it's mesh of styles. And at only $5 or $10 on steam these days, it gives you some time for the new releases to calm down in their initial pricing (or package up with the DLC).
    • Re:Bioware (Score:4, Interesting)

      by nschubach ( 922175 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2011 @03:57PM (#35422514) Journal

      I refuse to buy it because of EA though. The last Dragon Age I had to sign into their servers to use the equipment that was supposed to come with the game. (Collector's Edition "perks".)

      If/When Bioware splits ties with EA, then I will resume purchasing Bioware games.

    • How can you even mention Baldur's Gate in the context of Dragon Age...the quality difference between the two games is simply astounding.

      • Yet, Amazingly enough both games scored over a 9 on gamespot. and both over 90 on metacritic.

        So while your opinion may be valid. It doesn't necessarily mean the games suck. I hadn't seriously played a bioware game since BG Shadows of Amn and I could really feel some of the old game in the new one. I look forward to this one.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "Impressive art direction" means "we've turned it all to shit with an anime theme in an effort to appeal to the console players."

    • Totally. I loved the BG and IWD series games so much (still play them occasionally) that when I heard that DA:O was a spiritual successor to them I picked it up for $50 without even trying it first, something I usually never do. I have to say that is one of the very few game purchases I regret. For $50 I got an incomplete game with crappy visuals, a thin plot, and NPCs asking for my credit card left and right. "Help! Help, my castle is on fire! Help me please!" "Ok, I'd be happy to help. Where is it?" "Oh t
  • I love the idea of interactive storytelling but I've been greatly disappointed by most of the rpg's I've played. Usually they have terribly dull and uninteresting storylines you couldn't be bothered to give a goddamn about. There's no real storyline propelling the game, just random side-quests along the "collecting goblin noses" standard.

    There's plenty of potential for the genre but all of the games feel alike and remain dull. Oblivion remains an unbelievably gorgeous game, jaw-dropping and absolutely amazi

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Give me storyline and a powerful score and I don't care about graphics.

      To me the problem with RPG;s these days is that the graphical elements and putting battles in the immersive environment (rather than cutting to battles like old-school RPGs) actually damages the immersion. That and Nobuo Uematsu doesn't work for computer RPGs :P

    • Usually they have terribly dull and uninteresting storylines you couldn't be bothered to give a goddamn about.

      Yes, well not all RPGs can have you be the son/daughter of the dead lord of Murder on a quest to discover your heritage and powers. That would get old real soon.

      Oblivion remains an unbelievably gorgeous game, jaw-dropping and absolutely amazing. But the counter-intuitive leveling system took immersion and broke it on the wheel. The trite and boring storyline snuffed out any sense of weight and meaning in the gameplay.

      The expansion made it even prettier, although I forgot the name already. Oblivion had a lot of issues, and the most annoying one was having only 4 voice actors for the entire game (not counting Patrick Stewart). If you're complaining about the leveling system I'm guessing that you never played Morrowind, which used the same leveling system for chara

      • Meh, graphics... Give me decent gameplay or a damn good storyline and I'd play it if it was still sprite based. I personally care less to see each blade of grass moving in the wind, than I care about a story that keeps me entertained enough to want to know how it ends.

        I think the problem with DA was that it was a great game in every way except the graphics. It still won awards even with its 2002 graphics. It seemed odd that a game released in 2010 was only around Everquest graphics quality, and even that

  • else before it :

    back 10-20 years ago, computer tech was limited. you couldnt stray too far off from a format. you had to end the game in the same format you started it. in the same genre. because platforms didnt have the resources to expand to many different formats and their technical demands in regard to hard disk, processing power, and memory.

    but there were hybrid games even then - like pirates and so on. they allowed you to expand and expand and your GAMEPLAY changed with passing time. not just yo
    • That's a lot of words to say you don't like the genre.

      I don't like things, too. Mostly I just don't buy them.

    • It would suck.

      If I'm playing an RPG I want to play an RPG that gets the RPG things right, if I want to play an RTS I'll play an RTS not some shitty hybrid RPG/RTS/FPS/Puzzle/Adventure/Collectible Card/Fighter/Flight Simulator game that does nothing well.

      Sure if they want to tell an epic story have an RPG tell the first part and Civilization tell the last part, but don't make it all one game.

      • then you dont know shit about gaming. best of the best in the golden age of gaming, were hybrid games. pirates, defender of crown, star control 2 and similar.
        • Wow. Those go way back. I'd forgotten Defender of the Crown. It's true -- I often wonder why RTS games don't also have quests to improve your heroes, etc.

          • leave aside that, the hybridness of defender of the crown, actually made the world you lived in real - there were things happening, as they would happen depending on context - you go to a castle raiding - you are just another strong man with a sword. you go to tournament - regardless of whether youre king or holy roman emperor, you are now just a man on a horse with a stick in his hand. this was as such in reality, not to mention that, doing some of these were the obligations of the nobles by then.

            now ta
            • by Onuma ( 947856 )
              I believe the spiritual successor of DotC was Conqueror: 1086 AD by Sierra.

              If you could get it to run properly, it was actually pretty good. Now though, unless someone hacks it for modern windows versions, it won't run as it is a DOS based game. I suppose a VM could do the trick, but I'm not going to set one up just to play a 16 year old game I kicked the shit out of when I was 12.
          • they do. King Arthur (http://store.steampowered.com/app/24400/) for example.

        • Oh noes my taste is different than yours, it's the end of the world. And yes I played all those games, and yes they were good at the time. They are however crap now (well ok Defender of the Crown was crap then too).

          And I still would prefer separate games. If I want to watch a romantic comedy I'd prefer it not also be a thriller.

          • why watch a romantic comedy, instead of a romance movie or a comedy then.

            you are contradicting your own argument.
            • by Quirkz ( 1206400 )
              To be honest, your initial post sounded like "I started a romantic comedy, and I was disappointed it didn't turn into a hack'n'slash flick with a crime drama conclusion. All the good movies do that." To which I'd say, "at least you've still got 'Dusk Till Dawn.'"
        • If those counts as hybrids then so do DA:O and any party RPG, which inevitably interrupts the usual game to handle battles.

          In fact DA:O has three different games:
          1. Interactive full-motion video. This is the only place you can change the outcome of quests, or really anything in the game
          2. A game where you move around non-consequentially on a map (the so-called RPG part)
          3. A tactical combat game.

        • by binkzz ( 779594 )
          You forget Elite! One of the first and most successful hybrids of its time... Oh sweet frontier..
      • by santiago ( 42242 )

        If I'm playing an RPG I want to play an RPG that gets the RPG things right, if I want to play an RTS I'll play an RTS not some shitty hybrid RPG/RTS/FPS/Puzzle/Adventure/Collectible Card/Fighter/Flight Simulator game that does nothing well.

        I know, we could call it Spore!

    • Having played all PC versions of Pirates and a few others, the gameplay didn't really change a whole lot as you progressed. It's a fairly varied game overall, though, with elements of story, exploration, trading, fighting, strategy, character development, etc. All of them fairly light fare, though. And I don't really feel like playing an RPG which evolves into a RTS as you describe: I like the tactical combat sometimes seen in good RPGs, but I don't like RTS as a general rule.

      • it didnt change MUCH, because as said, there were technical limitations in the original version back in c64 age. they didnt twist the concept, they just built it in better form in latest pc versions.
    • by Saerko ( 1174897 )

      back 10-20 years ago, computer tech was limited. you couldnt stray too far off from a format. you had to end the game in the same format you started it. in the same genre. because platforms didnt have the resources to expand to many different formats and their technical demands in regard to hard disk, processing power, and memory.

      If only system hardware were the only limitation...oh wait, it's not. Have you ever played FF7? There were mini-games all over the place, including one which was essentially a really shitty RTS. Or how about Halo, where you can go solo or command a small squad, even jumping into vehicles? Hell, Halo: Reach even included space combat.

      The problem isn't that games don't cross genres, its that companies that are good at RPGs don't necessarily have the time, budget, or expertise to make a multi-genre game. A goo

    • this would actually be more realistic in every way ; in almost all games you develop to a point you are totally a factor that would affect any world, if you developed something to that point (stats etc), but nothing changes - noone comes and asks you to be their general or king, and actual strategy happens. someone who became as strong as the characters in rpgs (da, mass effect included) would actually have SO much clout in the world they were living in that, a lot of things would be effected and revolving around them. but, because innovation and experiments are prohibited in mass manufacturing gaming, escapism is used - 'oh, our character is humble, and he does this/that. or, our character marries with the queen and happy ever after'

      No, that sounds good but it would suck. Here's why: it's hard enough to make a game in a single genre that's any good. You start trying to go cross-genre, you're now greatly increasing the chance something's going to suck.

      Something like GTAIII to IV is pretty unusual in that it's a hybrid of a first-person shooter and a vehicle sim. Even at that the vehicle controls are a bit spongy and make precision maneuvers difficult. Not so bad on normal missions but ruinous in the races.

      There were already enough compl

      • Here's why: it's hard enough to make a game in a single genre that's any good.

        the above 'is not'.

        its not hard enough to make a game in single genre that's any good. with the amount of resources that are being poured into obfuscating aspects of modern games (graphics, resolution, textures, polygons), much more could be made. in some respects, graphics concept already passed the point where human eye can comfortably keep up anyway.

        moreover, straying off to multiple genres could make a lot of things much more easier - because you can switch to formats that are strong when a certai

    • It's not that game manufacturers are lazy or unimaginative; they've been chasing the Holy Grail of games that you just described, but the limits of the computer interface create what I can only describe as the "Spore problem," which I will explain in a bit.

      The problem with your "hybridization of games" figure of speech is that real life (or fantasy life, for that matter) is not a hybridization of anything - it's just life. It's not like the commanders of actual armies have a screen with their units on it
  • Does anyone know if your choices from the original Dragon Age carry over? I heard somewhere they were going to carry over the decisions your character made and incorporate it into the sequel - much like Mass Effect.
  • by Tridus ( 79566 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2011 @02:50PM (#35421672) Homepage

    So I was one of the suckers who bought DA 1 on release day. Didn't buy any DLC, because Bioware DLC is always overpriced.

    Eventually they come out with the 'ultimate edition', which is the game, expansion, and all DLC for the same price I paid originally. That part is normal, and alright.

    Where it gets ridiculous is that for me to add the DLC to the game I already bought on the same day this new verison came out would have cost MORE then just buying the game again and getting everything thrown in.

    The pricing model is sufficiently out to lunch that I'll wait this time.

    • by Cederic ( 9623 )

      My apologies, I waited until the "Ultimate Edition" was not only released, but also going for a substantial discount on Steam.

      I have 30 games that I've bought and still haven't played; that's one of them. Combined expenditure on them is about the same as buying 3-4 'new' games. It just doesn't make sense.

      Last game I paid full price for is the reason I don't have time for those others - FM2011. What can I see, it's been decades and the Collyer brothers _still_ make addictive games..

  • Anyone get this version yet for the 360? Ordered mine through Amazon but their release day shipping failed, kind of want to just pick it up locally. Is the regular edition the same minus the pre-order email activation code?
  • by Piata ( 927858 ) on Tuesday March 08, 2011 @06:22PM (#35424180)

    This news story sounds like it what was submitted by an EA publicist.

    A lot of people have taken issue with the dumbed down combat, limited customization options, extremely linear story, bad graphics and a dialogue wheel that is essentially broken into compassionate, obnoxious or humourous responses. This game is a pale impression of it's predecessor. It seems kind of ironic that the series designed to resurrect the cRPG may be the very thing that destroys it. Before buying this game, read this article [hookedgamers.com] and save yourself some money.

    • by WeeLad ( 588414 )
      14 hours in. I'm pretty much sick of DA:2.

      I loved the DA:O. 4 playthrus. DA:A, I was ok with. 2 Playthrus. DA:2 does seem "dumbed down" as you put it. If it doesn't get better soon (in spite of it's horrible combat system), it's going in the "did not finish" pile.

  • Spent 2 hours downloading the demo, then spent 20 minutes playing the demo, as 2 different "characters" (same person, same plot, same voice, just different abilities). That's a chunk of bandwidth cap I'm never getting back :(

    I even tried just doing nothing for one of the fights. Sure enough, we win anyway. This isn't a game, it's a series of cutscenes tied together with a series of pointless 'fights'. Might as well be watching some crap TV fantasy show for all the contribution I made.

    I'll go back to Minecra

Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. -- James Bryant Conant