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Review Vault Dweller Does Dragon Age II

VentilatorOfDoom

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Tags: BioWare; Dragon Age 2

Resident Ubersturmfuhrer Vault Dweller, mostly known for his involvement in making this indie vaporware cRPG and his love for Dragon Age: Origins, fearlessly approached BioWare's latest masterpiece Dragon Age II, despite all the dark foreboding.

Back to the story, mages draw power from a “metaphysical” realm, the Warp, I mean the Fade, which exposes them to the dangerous emo spirits populating it. These emo spirits, called demons in the game, try to possess mages and wreak havoc in the real world. So, if a mage isn’t strong enough to resist, Bad Things Happen.​

Since relying on mages to be strong enough to resist is kind of like relying on EA to resist the temptation to shut down studios, the Circle of Magi was created to train mages properly in the arts of self control and meek obedience. When a mage in training completes the program, he or she takes a test where they attempt to fight that demonic possession in a “controlled environment”. Meaning that the Templars hack anyone who fails the test to abomination-bits.​

So, while in Kirkwall, you’ll constantly run into Templars, Circle mages, apostates (renegade mages), and new mages who are just discovering their powers and trying to work out what to do about them. The conflict is fairly well presented – it’s one of the few strengths of the game - and many characters you’ll meet will help you look at the situation from different points of view.​

As you’d expect, some Templars are just doing their jobs in a difficult situation, convinced that they are protecting the public. Other Templars sympathize and are willing to help mages, while still other Templar are convinced that mages are dangerous abominations who should be killed or neutered (a mage’s connection to the Fade can be forcefully cut via a lobotomy-like procedure which turns them into vegetables) outright.​

Similarly, there are mages who are “normal people” like your sister and other party members (probably because you keep them on a tighter leash than the Circle), mages who truly need help controlling their powers, and mages who are angry and willing to fight back, rightfully seeing the templars, the Circle, and the Chantry as their enemies.​

I’d say it’s one of the more interesting settings for an RPG and it does manage to raise interesting questions, questions without an easy answer. The potential is there, but it’s wasted on an action RPG where you kill bad guys and monsters instead of exploring the ethics of the society Bioware created.​

Read the full review here.
 

Elwro

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WHERE'S TEH NEWSPOST

Thanks for the detailed review, VD, and for digging up the dev quotes. Of course some retards will come and say that the fact you stopped playing where you did shows that you didn't understand the combat system and not having finished the game you're not qualified to review it, but screw them. It's nice to read a review which focuses on the important bit for once :salute:
 

IronicNeurotic

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VentilatorOfDoom said:
instead of exploring the ethics of the society Bioware created.

Yes, exploring the ethics of mage vs templar, church vs whoever opposes them or lets just say two opposing standard fantasy factions has never been this complex and unique.


Totally.


:/
 

Elwro

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Hehe, you did the same thing I did recently. Now I guess the system has two newsposts, one not displayed on the main page, and Jason will have to do the mopping up again.
 

ghostdog

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EA Superior: What did we learn, Laidlaw?
Mike Laidlaw: I don't know, sir.
EA Superior: I don't fuckin' know either. I guess we learned not to do it again.
Mike Laidlaw: Yes, sir.
EA Superior: I'm fucked if I know what we did.
Mike Laidlaw: Yes, sir, it's, uh, hard to say.
EA Superior: Jesus Fucking Christ.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlA9hmrC ... re=related


:salute:
 

VentilatorOfDoom

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Elwro said:
Hehe, you did the same thing I did recently. Now I guess the system has two newsposts, one not displayed on the main page, and Jason will have to do the mopping up again.

Indeed. Oh well. There are worse things I suppose.
 

grotsnik

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Bravo, sir. Unlike that 2.5/10 Gamecritics fella, I thought you took the game methodically apart without ever coming across as undisciplined due to raging/broad sarcasm.
 

jiujitsu

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Project: Eternity
Haba said:
But is it good for what it is?

Did you even read the review?

NO. It isn't even good for what it is. It's rushed trash and it's insulting.

It's fucking robbery is what it is. They used their reputation to steal our money. It's like when Indiana Jones replaces that Golden Idol with a Bag of Sand in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Thanks for the sand Bioware. Enjoy your free money.
 

Vault Dweller

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IronicNeurotic said:
VentilatorOfDoom said:
instead of exploring the ethics of the society Bioware created.

Yes, exploring the ethics of mage vs templar, church vs whoever opposes them or lets just say two opposing standard fantasy factions has never been this complex and unique.

Totally.

:/
Edgy. Give this man 20 cool points!

First, exploring ethics is always more interesting than killing stuff. Second, depths and complexity can be found even in a simple, black and white conflict; it's merely a question of perspective and how deep one digs. Third, there is nothing simple about any conflict involving church (see church vs state in medieval Europe, or church vs paganism conflict of in the 4th century, etc). Fourth, societies where magic is feared and mages are kept under lock are very rare in cRPGs and exploring such a conflict would have been very interesting indeed.

Instead of a basic "mages are too powerful, they can't resist the temptation to rise to power" good vs evil setup, the danger of possession does increase the complexity as it makes every mage a potential threat and justifies or at least explains the oppression. Mages are walking bombs and are a danger to society, not through the fault of their own, yet some bombs never go off, which weakens the argument against them. Is what the Circle doing the right thing or is it merely something similar to the barbaric psychiatric practices of the 40s? Are there better ways to prevent possession? Can possessed mages be reasoned with? Can deals be made with the spirits possessing them? At what cost? Certainly there are practical and military applications to be considered. The deterrence factor. Etc.
 

Ogg

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Codex 2012 Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Codex USB, 2014 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech
So, now that's official, DA2 isn't even worth pirating.
Nice read. Quite informative and thus quite spoilerish it seems. But I doubt many would want to try the game after reading this review. After the demo, I realised it wouldn't even be a decent H&S. I still had some (few) hopes the story could be passable. But I see that Bioware once again missed the few interesting points of the background they had developed.

That being said, I hope Codexers will soon stop posting shit about this mess of a game anyway. What's the next turd to be issued?
 

Volourn

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I agree with some styuff, and disagree with other stuff. Still, compared to other reviews, good job. Even when i disagreed, I kinda understood where you coming from. This is the second best Codexian review ever.
 

Kthan75

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Thanks for the review, VD; nicely written and seems fair.

Before reading this, I was wondering if I should give DA2 a try or keep playing Bronze league SC2.
Now it's clear, maybe I'll make it to silver league before TW2 comes out.
 

made

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VD said:
And in Conclusion Dragon Age 2 is a mediocre and deeply flawed action RPG
Boring. His Holiness is old and lost his zeal.

If DA2 is mediocre, what's a truly terrible arpg like?
 

Haba

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Codex 2012 MCA Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2
jiujitsu said:
Haba said:
But is it good for what it is?
It's fucking robbery is what it is. They used their reputation to steal our money. It's like when Indiana Jones replaces that Golden Idol with a Bag of Sand in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

No, that was when they claimed DA:O to be the spiritual successor of BG2.
 

Lockkaliber

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Haha, good show VD. Made me laugh out loud severals times while reading, prompting odd glances from my housemates.
 

Haba

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Vault Dweller said:
Instead of a basic "mages are too powerful, they can't resist the temptation to rise to power" good vs evil setup, the danger of possession does increase the complexity as it makes every mage a potential threat and justifies or at least explains the oppression. Mages are walking bombs and are a danger to society, not through the fault of their own, yet some bombs never go off, which weakens the argument against them. Is what the Circle doing the right thing or is it merely something similar to the barbaric psychiatric practices of the 40s? Are there better ways to prevent possession? Can possessed mages be reasoned with? Can deals be made with the spirits possessing them? At what cost? Certainly there are practical and military applications to be considered. The deterrence factor. Etc.

The sad thing is, even Robert Jordan did a better job with the very same idea.
 

phanboy_iv

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I love it when people write very specific, well thought out reviews.

Guess I know for sure I should avoid it now, PC Gamer's 90+ BEST RPG COMBAT OF THE DECADE review notwithstanding. :lol:
 

Zed

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It touched on all the major negatives I experienced. DA2 is truly a shitty game.
 

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