[Editorial] Dragon Age 3: Legend of the Troll-slayers

March 28th, 2011 Dan Hemsath

There’s an old saying about pleasing some of the people some of the time…

The highly anticipated – and highly advertised – sequel to Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age 2, was released on March 8th, 2011…much to the dismay of some of its “fans.” Apparently, a sect of the more vocal constituents of the preceding game have cried out to the Maker in agony, struck by despair at their sense of betrayal for receiving a game so horrible, it cannot be played. At least, if Metacritic.com’s own user-created reviews are to be regarded as a fair and balanced response to the sequel. Yes, the internet is always an excellent source for objective criticism.

But what’s strange is the vast difference in response from the critics’ reviews and the user reviews on Metacritic. Surely, the occasional fan will take umbrage at a game in a way that differs from the popular critical response, or even the majority view of other users, but Dragon Age 2 plays an unusual role here. The critical Metascore for the game is an 80/82/83 (360/PS3/PC), while the user scores are 4.3/3.8/4.3; it would be enough if only a handful of people reviewed the game, but there are a total of over 5,000 user reviews for this title alone! This kind of response for videogames is actually more common on Metacritic than you might think – for example, Call of Duty: Black Ops has an equivalent critic-to-user difference of an average of 30 points (using Metacritic’s critic-based scoring). But for a title like DA2 to receive this kind of blog-flogging from its prior supporters seems strange considering developer BioWare’s commitment to producing games with its fans in mind.

So, why all the hate? Is this game so terrible? Apparently, in this case, it does depend on who you ask. The venom that has been spewed forth – especially on BioWare’s own messageboards – about feelings of the title being “garbage,” “a failure,” and even the “death of the series” are extreme, to say the least. But this seems to be more the case of those vocal few who view the internet as an outlet for extreme opinions, rather than those who have assessed the game on its own merit. Considering the majority of these opinions surfaced in short time after the launch of the game, one wonders just how much critical attention the outspoken “fans” truly devoted to this title.

Perhaps some (if not most) of this is due to the antagonistic relationship outspoken gamers have with sequels. Some resent publishers for producing sequels, claiming that they are produced simply to capitalize on the success of their predecessors. While this is true (after all, why make a game you intend to make no money on?), these same individuals fail to recognize that many games now have the capacity to tell an interactive story far beyond the scope of games of yore. And these same games – and their corresponding stories – develop and grow with time. Sequels (and DLC, to an extent) are the extension of that philosophy.

To be fair, the game is not without its share of shortcomings. I wonder who the architect of Kirkwall was, and his obsessive compulsion to design each cave, warehouse, or Hightown mansion in a uniform way, much less the interior decorators, who furnish each home with frighteningly similar paintings, chairs, et cetera. Or, perhaps, the unusual amount of dropped equipment that the player will likely never use, especially with regards to armor. And I still chuckle when I visit the Viscount’s manor and hear the canned background speech from one poor soul who apparently has been forced to wait to see the ruler of the city for over three years, if the game’s chronology is to be believed.

But for all its idiosyncrasies, the game is a triumph of episodic gameplay, in its own way. The massive collection of quests gives the player a variety of different residents of Kirkwall to interact with – and sometimes kill and loot. Moral choices and lasting consequences are still as ubiquitous in Dragon Age 2 as they are in many BioWare games, but now the end results of your actions are more clearly defined in many cases, giving the player the freedom to direct the story better than its predecessor did. The combat system is fast and dynamic, the tactics portion of combat is more accessible and meaningful (with the addition of cross-class combos), and attributes and abilities are more balanced and multi-functional than before. And not once did I have to backtrack to a shop before completing a quest to sell loot, simply because I was “too encumbered” (take that, Fallout 3!).

One of the best moments you can appreciate how much detail has gone into the “streamlined” art direction of the game comes when you compare the detail between the different races and characters in both games. Elves and dwarves especially look more distinct from their predecessors’ counterparts, giving them a visual personality. But no other race has undergone such drastic alteration as the Qunari. Now endowed with horns, and a stone-like fleshtone, they remind me of what design choices went into the Klingons of Star Trek after their first appearances on the television series. But to truly see the difference, you will have to encounter one of your former companions. After I met up with one from the first game (no spoilers), I was amazed how much more animation and detail went into his (okay, little spoiler) appearance this go around.

Where DA2 shines the most is in its intricate story. According to lead designer Mike Laidlaw in the foreword for the strategy guide (beautifully designed by Piggyback Interactive), the development team “jokingly used to pitch [Dragon Age 2] as ‘two archdemons stapled together to lead a super Blight!’ Perhaps you can see why [they] wanted something different.” While this is apparently lost on some so-called “fans” of Dragon Age: Origins, the story is the beginning of an exciting epic, much as the Assassin’s Creed series has bravely adopted.

This game explores a rare place in the fiction of any game, one where politics and intrigue play out around the Champion of Kirkwall’s heroics. Quests and interactions with the major players in Kirkwall are some of the most fascinating moments in any role-playing game. Between the ruling Viscount Dumar, the Fereldan refugees (of which Hawke, the protagonist, is a member), Knight-Commander Meredith, and the Arishok – a figure who leads his people through the harsh tenets of the Qun – DA2 is stuffed full with moments of tension and believable characters with identifiable motives. The underlying parallels between conflicts of religion, race, and government in the game are almost painfully recognizable in our own modern world, only previously hinted at in Origins, now explosively relevant in the context of its sequel. To see these comparisons made in the fantasy world of Thedas makes for some intelligent storytelling that requires its audience to draw their own conclusions.

In the end, Dragon Age 2 is, in many ways, much like the entertaining supporting characters that ally themselves with Hawke. Like the saucy pirate vixen Isabella, it is a tarnished beauty; already in its short life, it has endured wildly varied support and extreme – and unfair – condemnation. Like Fenris, former Tevinter Imperium slave and fugitive, it has fought against the trappings of its former life, and been attacked for daring to live in a way different than the unfair expectations posited upon it by its users. And, maybe like Anders (imagine Malcolm X as a mage), I, too, rally to defend this enjoyable title from unfair persecution, and enjoy DA2 for what it is – a fun game.

Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Netvouz
  • DZone
  • ThisNext
  • MisterWong
  • Wists

45 Responses to “[Editorial] Dragon Age 3: Legend of the Troll-slayers”

  1. decorating companies essex Says:

    having your home redecorated can be a stress full time. NOt only do you have to deal with colour schemes, and choosing wall paper, but you also have the upheaval of having tradesmen in your house from early till late, with dustsheets laid out, and not being able to live in your own home. Having to contend with the new paint oader is enough for any one!! Make sure you pick a reliable and professional team of decorators to ensure the works get completed in a timely manner. It may cost you a little extra but in my opinion its a much safer bet.

  2. tablettes graphiques Says:

    Hi! Nice stuff, please inform us when you finally post something like that!

  3. dc computer Says:

    Aw, this was a really nice post. In thought I want to write like this – taking time and precise effort to make an excellent article is very rare…

  4. wedding photography lancaster pa Says:

    Aw, this was a really nice post. In thought I wish to write like this – taking time and actual effort to make an excellent article is very rare…

  5. Guy Sidle Says:

    It is always so ideal and also jam-packed with fun for me and my office acquaintances to visit the blog at a minimum 3 times in 7 days to find out the latest issues you have.

  6. Neomi Schirm Says:

    I’m curious to find out what blog platform you have been using? I’m having some small security issues with my latest website and I’d like to find something more risk-free. Do you have any recommendations?

  7. independent senior living Says:

    Heyyy. Are you looking for a Assisted Living Facilities?

  8. BG mail Says:

    After examine a few of the weblog posts on your web site now, and I actually like your way of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark web site listing and will be checking again soon. Pls check out my web page as effectively and let me know what you think.

  9. Svetlana Steinkirchner Says:

    Magnificent goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you’re just too wonderful. I actually like what you’ve acquired here, really like what you are saying and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still care for to keep it smart. I cant wait to read far more from you. This is really a terrific web site.

  10. Sean Weafer Says:

    I want to get across my affection for your generosity supporting people who should have help on the subject matter. Your very own dedication to passing the solution all around was exceedingly productive and has constantly allowed some individuals just like me to reach their pursuits. Your important advice implies a great deal a person like me and far more to my colleagues. Warm regards; from all of us.

  11. authentic Packer jerseys Says:

    On line poker is usually an wonderful Online game although you will need to find out Policies.

  12. cheap kids uggs Says:

    strongzz Hi there, I found your site via Google while searching for a related topic, your website came up, it looks good. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

  13. kameralne Says:

    Thanks a lot for sharing this with all folks you actually recognise what you are speaking approximately! Bookmarked. Kindly also visit my web site =). We could have a link trade agreement among us!

  14. Fan of Troy Polamalu Says:

    Thank you for any other informative web site. The place else may I am getting that kind of information written in such a perfect approach? I’ve a undertaking that I’m just now running on, and I’ve been on the look out for such information.

  15. Escort Says:

    thanks for your wonderfull sharing post admin

  16. replica purses Says:

    omg! can’t envision how fast time pass, soon after August, ber months time already and Setempber will be the initial Christmas season in my place, I actually really like it!

  17. buddha cabbage Says:

    I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you design this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz respond as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to know where u got this from. cheers

  18. Merle Maish Says:

    Oh my goodness! a tremendous article dude. Thanks However I’m experiencing issue with ur rss . Don’t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone getting identical rss drawback? Anyone who is aware of kindly respond. Thnkx

  19. Indira Weavil Says:

    Thanks for your tips on this blog. A single thing I would wish to say is the fact purchasing gadgets items on the Internet is not new. The truth is, in the past ten years alone, the market for online electronic products has grown a great deal. Today, you will find practically any kind of electronic device and devices on the Internet, including cameras along with camcorders to computer parts and game playing consoles.

  20. Extreme skiers Says:

    Thanks for sharing your ideas. I would also like to say that video games have been at any time evolving. Modern tools and improvements have helped create reasonable and fun games. Most of these entertainment video games were not as sensible when the concept was first being experimented with. Just like other forms of technologies, video games as well have had to develop as a result of many generations. This itself is testimony towards the fast continuing development of video games.

  21. Caryl Adamczyk Says:

    I don’t agree with you in all statements however that is still a good written text !

  22. online virus scan Says:

    Maybe you have experienced fresh on-line back-up services? On the web laptop or computer help solutions backup important computer data on-line with their files centre. Which means you are storing to some safe console which is far away from the computer virus assaults.A complete assortment of malware will be roaming openly on the net. There are millions of people who use computers who’re always-on the web find another thing or even the additional. Internet users easily be taken in by this sort of malicious issue which causes excellent frustration and also recovery time. Most computer users miss these people have a malware till his or her personal computer starts to manage since slow as molasses. Properly! There can be some other signs as well similar to frequent pop-ups, ads, slow pace from the Internet.Malware, Earthworms, along with Trojan’s, spy ware cover by themselves when confronted with e mail parts, IM, or even PPT. What it takes to eliminate computer virus? Just a straightforward computer virus software program. Nonetheless, making the most out of it can prove to be a constant go up regarding people. Poor set up antivirus software is just ineffective. By having an growing employ along with significance of computer systems in our hi-technology globe, it is essential that you are taking proper care of the body to make certain their maximum efficiency and correct operating.

  23. gue Says:

    Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is fantastic, as well as the content!. Thanks For Your article about TotalPlayStation » Blog Archive » [Editorial] Dragon Age 3: Legend of the Troll-slayers .

  24. Cordless drills Says:

    I just couldn’t leave your web site prior to suggesting that I extremely enjoyed the standard information a person supply in your guests? Is gonna be back steadily to check up on new posts.

  25. Lizbeth Louwagie Says:

    I enjoy your writing style truly enjoying this web site. “Meetings are indispensable when you don’t want to do anything.” by John Kenneth Galbraith.

  26. Shavon Ader Says:

    I’m a huge fan of Vicki Pettersson’s and the minute she announced she was working on something new, I knew that I would have to have it. I didn’t even care if it was a book filled with her shopping lists. Then I read the book description and I loved that it sounded completely new and fresh, yet still very Vicki. And then the cover came out and I couldn’t believe how gorgeous it was. I am so freaking excited to buy this book, I don’t even care that it’s gonna make my shelves look a little funky cause it’s taller than the Zodiac series.

  27. MymnKendarrem Says:

    Appreciate your spending some time to create pay off the terminlogy into the starters!

  28. betaner Says:

    This good share best thanks lol

  29. mini pen drive 2gb Says:

    This started to be your truly pretty excellent discharge. In theory I have to publish such as this in addition : getting efforts and accurate efforts to produce a great write-up however what can I really believe in which When i waste time lots via virtually no suggests appear to obtain everything concluded.

  30. gjawua Says:

    TotalPlayStation » Blog Archive » [Editorial] Dragon Age 3: Legend of the Troll-slayers I was suggested this web site by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my problem. You are incredible! Thanks! your article about TotalPlayStation » Blog Archive » [Editorial] Dragon Age 3: Legend of the Troll-slayersBest Regards SchaadAndy

  31. rearveenjqype Says:

    I agree along with a portion of the different commenters relating to this items

  32. beats by dre low price Says:

    Excellent web site. Lots of useful info here. I am sending it to some buddies ans additionally sharing in delicious. And obviously, thank you in your effort!

  33. Download full music albums Says:

    Great site you got here i will be back for more.

  34. ejerlejlighed slagelse Says:

    What’s Taking place i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I have found It absolutely helpful and it has helped me out loads. I’m hoping to give a сontribution & helр different usеrs
    like its аided me. Good jоb.

  35. Brazilian Hair Says:

    I want to make use of some of the content material on my blog. Naturally I’ll offer you a link on my internet blog. Thanks for sharing.

  36. Livia Says:

    Just right. Good things – I am pretty aligned with most of the things you mentioned. Going to show this with my pals that are also into this.

  37. google Says:

    mantap gan

  38. jaki hak Says:

    I do agree with all of the concepts you have presented to your post. They are very convincing and will definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are too short for novices. May just you please prolong them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post.

  39. Best price Says:

    Great works of art! Right here is the type of info which are meant to be discussed along the world wide web. Waste to the search engines like yahoo for no longer placement this particular placed second! Can happen above along with discuss with my website. Many thanks Equates to)

  40. ebgames Says:

    Woah this blog is excellent i like studying your articles. Keep up the great paintings! You realize, many persons are searching round for this info, you could help them greatly.

  41. Lenny Ballif Says:

    deemed one in every of our internet site site visitors recently proposed the following word wide web website

  42. data|recovery|drive|services|computer|undelete|fix|repair|rescue|retrieve|clicking|format|recovery|backup|ide|sata|scsi|tape Says:

    Hello, i believe that i saw you visited my site so i came to return the want?.I am attempting to in finding things to improve my web site!I suppose its adequate to make use of some of your ideas!!

  43. Dominique Krewer Says:

    I come here from Google, it is impressive of your post.

  44. garcinia cambogia reviews and side effects Says:

    garcinia cambogia reviews dr oz The only time I ever wished I could go through French.
    whole body garcinia cambogia reviews

  45. a Says:

    I like what you guys are usually up too. This sort of clever work and reporting!
    Keep up the wonderful works guys I’ve added you guys to blogroll.

Leave a Reply