Coffee Talk #318: Random Thoughts on Dragon Age II

My Dragon Age II review has been submitted to Machinima, but I wanted to take some space to discuss the game with all of you. I also wanted to post random (and sometimes stupid) observations that…

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, Sony possibly getting GeoHotz’s PayPal records, the Verizon Thunderbolt going on sale today, or the Chicago Bulls chances of winning a championship, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

My Dragon Age II review has been submitted to Machinima, but I wanted to take some space to discuss the game with all of you. I also wanted to post random (and sometimes stupid) observations that were not appropriate for a proper review. So let’s get to it! Here are a bunch of scattered thoughts on Dragon Age II. Spoilers ahead!!!

– I fought the temptation to name my character Ethan. This would have made him Ethan Hawke. In my head, people in Thedas would constantly ask him, “What was it like boning Uma Thurman?” Instead, my rogue was named RPad Hawke and my warrior was named Raymond Hawke. I’m planning to play as a female mage for my third run. I’ll most likely name her Ether Hawke, which plays on Ethan Hawk and is a tribute to dear friend.

– A lot fanboys have complained about the game’s story, saying that it’s too small. I think those people are idiots. Certainly this chapter of Dragon Age is more focused and centers on Hawke’s adventure in Kirkwall. Taking away some of the freedom of the original allowed for tighter storytelling. Furthermore, this focused tale has expanded the world of Dragon Age. It’s obvious that something bigger is in the works. Flemeth is on the loose. The conflict between mages and templars is worse than ever. The chantry is searching for the Hero of Ferelden (Dragon Age: Origins) and the Champion of Kirkwall (Dragon Age II). I’m expecting something grand when it all comes together. Hopefully there’s room for the Scourge of Antiva, the Vixen of Orlais, and That Guy from Seheron.

– There are a lot of English, Irish, and Scottish accents in Kirkwall. In my head, I kept hearing WWE Sheamus. He hangs around The Hanged Man pub and threatens people by screaming, “Buy me a drink or I’ll kick you in the Kirkwalls, fella!”

– The game’s characterization is topnotch and the banter between companions is brilliant. The writers did a wonderful job at making you lust for the pirate wench (Isabela), shake your head at the innocent mage that plays with blood magic (Merrill), want to slap the ex-slave (Fenris) for being a dick, and more. The most impressive characterization was the 180 the writers did with Anders. He was fun, foppish wise-cracking sidekick in Dragon Age: Origins Awakening. Although he still spouts a sharp joke every now and then, circumstances have made him darker and brooding. His actions in the game’s third act were shocking. You wouldn’t have thought that the guy you met in Awakening would be capable of doing what he did in Dragon Age II, but the writers did a fine job and making it believable.

– There are a lot of bisexual characters in Dragon Age II. Most of the companions with romance trees can be courted by male or female “Hawke” characters. I applaud BioWare for allowing numerous heterosexual and homosexual romances for different kinds of gamers. It’s modern and progressive. That said, I’m a bit surprised that the company didn’t keep pushing the envelope to allow for an incest angle between the Champion and his sibling. Hell, Marvel did it in Ultimates.

– It was great seeing so many characters from the first game and Awakening. Alistair, Zevran, Leliana, Flemeth, Bodahn, Sandal, Nathaniel, and several others appearances. Some other characters are mentioned by name in the dialogue. One of my favorite lines was the bartender talking about the dwindling pigeon population in Ferelden, which was obviously the work of pigeon-stomping golem Shale from Origins. It was cool that Alistair could be a king or a drunk depending on the choices you made in the first game. It was fantastic learning about Flemeth’s contingency plan. DA2 had a lot of great nods to gamers that played the original.

– Speaking of Sandal, I think I’m going to join the growing number of Sandal conspiracy theorists. There’s something about this enchantment-inducing dwarf with a (supposed) mental disability that’s…not quite right. It’s funny how he was in the middle of the madness at Ferelden and Kirkwall. It’s funnier that when nobody is around, he can dispatch a horde of darkspawn through a method he describes as “not enchantment”. He’s off to Orlais next, so perhaps the third game takes place there…or perhaps he’s the maker, come back to the world to reshape it through a series of drastic events. Yeah. That makes the most sense.

– I honestly think all the people bitching about this game are doing it just to bitch. It’s a great RPG. I’m going to play it at least four times. I don’t do that with bad games. Yet if you believed everything you read on the Internet, this is the biggest affront to Western RPGs in the last decade. It’s not a perfect game, but I think it’s getting unfairly knocked because it’s more accessible than the original and some hardcore gamers can’t stand change. I also think it’s getting knocked because it’s from BioWare; if the same game came out and it was made by a different developer then fans and critics alike would be heaping praise on it.

Anyway, those are some random thoughts on the Dragon Age II. I’ll post my “real” review when it runs on Machinima. For now, let’s chat it up (please)!

Author: RPadTV

http://www.RPad.TV

  • tokz_21

    @Bulls chances

    What a jinx you are Rpad!

    @Dragon Age

    i haven't played this or the first one i can't really comment on your random thoughts but is it just me, or is the guy in picture you use in the previews of your stories for Dragon Age, look like Manny Pacquiao in a way.

    • You don't need me to jinx the Bulls. D-Rose's defense will take care of that. Ha!

      That guy, Hawke, kind of looks like a much bigger and whiter version of what Pacquiao used to look like. Remember, Manny has Bieber hair now.

      • tokz_21

        yeah, yeah. it's bad enough MJ jinxed him and the Bulls by saying they can win multiple championships on Saturday and now you got to jump on the bandwagon too. *waves fist in anger*

        I haven't seen Manny recently, i hope he doesn't have his blonde highlights/streaks again. lol

      • Here's Manny's Bieber head.

        <img class="alignnone" src="http://www.mosleyvsmora.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/pacquiao-bieber-face.jpg&quot; alt="" width="300" height="190" />

      • smartguy

        lol to his face i'd tell him "that is a nice style there. looks sharp"

        behind his back " lol"

      • tokz_21

        OMG that is freaking hilarious! Manny Bieber!

      • tokz_21

        or some girls could say they have Pac-Man Bieber!

      • Ouch.

      • tokz_21

        what?!?!? was that too much??

      • smartguy

        @Tokz

        I think the Bulls are the only team that can beat the Magic in a 7 game series out of the east. Boston won't be able to beat Orlando without Perkins and Miami will stumble on either Chicago or Orlando.

        Looks like the Hornets are going to draw LA in the first round out of the west…..yay.

      • tokz_21

        @Smartguy

        Ah! you guys are the most jinxing people ever!

      • Iceman

        Yeah, what do you expect when New Orleans has more voo-doo dolls per square mile than anywhere else in the country?

        -M

      • smartguy

        @Iceman

        I like their chances vs the Lakers to an extent. Here's why: they play the good teams pretty good. If a team is bad (under .500) they whip the Hornet ass.

        Unless you are the Nuggets. You beat the hell out of the Hornets no matter what.

  • smartguy

    Glad you enjoyed it. Not for me though.

    I wanted so bad to go out and get the Thunderbolt today. I'm quite sold on that device. I can't though. I'm trying to land another job and I don't want to add any luxury buys right now. Maybe in a month or 3. I'll probably have to jump on unlimited 4G while it lasts though.

    • I was thinking about you when I got the Thunderbolt press release. The only reason I'd get one now is to lock in unlimited LTE. Rumors are that it's going away in the summer. The T-Bolt is cool, but it's a little on the old side. My next phone must be dual-core.

      • smartguy

        @Ray

        Yeah I've done my homework on the device. Some of the internals are upgraded components but yeah..not being dual core is a bummer. Supposedly the Samsung Stealth is dual core and will be amazing. Not sure if that will be around though.

        I see conflicting blurbs about the bootloader being unlocked on the Thunderbolt…is this true?

        Since I'm finished with school in May and cannot afford the law school I got accepted into (Loyola) my girlfriend bought me a Dell Ultrasharp IPS monitor last night. I was trying to convince her to get me the Thunderbolt but she said the ETF is on me and I wasn't ready to incur that right now lol.

      • I haven't heard anything about the bootloader, but I don't expect it to be an issue.

  • Heading off to fill out some boring papers. I'll be back in a few hours, but will try to check comments on my phone if I'm able to. There's Boddington's in the fridge. Try not to burn the place down!

    • @smartguy I was walking out the door when the UPS guy came and handed me a Thunderbolt review unit. I'll snap pics for you when I get back.

      • Big Blak

        lucky you, Nexus S and a Thunderbolt in less than 2 weeks.

  • Big Blak

    COME ON POOKEY LETS BURN THIS MUTHA DOWN!

  • SlickyFats

    @SG

    55" Glasses free 3D……3 years off
    http://techon.nikkeibp.co.jp/english/NEWS_EN/2011

  • smartguy

    @slicky
    O.o

    @ray
    Send me that unit. My work contract is up and wont be buying it for a month or two :(

  • Nightshade386

    I'm playing my second run now. First run was as the good duel-wielding male rogue, 2nd run is as the smart-alack female warrior with the giant sword. I imported different playthroughs from DA:O for both characters and intend to play it a few more times (although I think I'll be writing my review this weekend long before I play it the 4 or 5 times I'm likely to.

    I think it's a great game and the accessibility on the consoles is big step in the right direction. The balancing is much better this time around as the game doesn't feel unplayably hard on Normal due to extreme difficulty spikes anymore. The game combat does get much harder in the 3rd act, but that's to be expected and not as random as in the first game.

    Frankly, I kind of liked the direction they took with the story. The ending feels more like something is just beginning. I'm interested to see what the ending is like if you side with the templars, as I sided with the mages my first run through.

    I was thoroughly shocked by Anders character development, but it's written fantastically. All of the characters are written superbly. I did end up with Isabella, I wanted to slap some sense into Merrill, and I wanted to slam Fenris into the nearest wall every time he said something disparaging about mages because in my head he was talking about my sister, and that's what a big brother does.

    All in all I'm very pleased with the game. I'll likely only put it down for the nbext little while if the next Mass Effect DLC comes out or I get something else to review. Otherwise I'm not really looking forward to anything else until L.A. Noire comes out.

  • Iceman

    Hey, Smartguy, what's up with the New Orleans PD?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/18/us/18orleans.ht

    Are you guys purposefully trying to compete with Miami PD for the most corrupt officials trophy? Because if you are, you guys have a long way to go.

    -M

    • smartguy

      @Iceman

      I'll have you know sir that we are striving to be number 1. In fact I will go so far as to say we have to be number 1 based on the amount of judges that are bought and paid for knowingly. Look up "car wash killings" and see what I mean. Those guys walked by the way. There was a video of them shooting the people. Pretty cut and dry you would think. Then there are the Danziger bridge shootings during Katrina.

      That office is strange though. They have only recently eliminated the residency requirement for officers. Maybe a better selection of individuals will help?

      • Iceman

        Watch the independent film: "Cocaine Cowboys". You'll love it. Pay especially close attention to the one question they pose at the end. I’m sure you’ll be able to figure out the answer.

        -M

      • smartguy

        Oh nice. I love a good documentary. You can instant stream it as well. There are 2 of them.

        Plus some 1979 movie that is available.

  • Random HTC Thunderbolt thoughts:

    I miss having a screen this size.

    I don't miss HTC Sense. I thought I would.

    I find it odd that Swype isn't pre-installed. Typing on a smartphone is so 2009.

    All large phones should have kickstands. Kickstands rule!!!

  • New stories are coming soon. I'm just waiting for a video to finish rendering. *sigh* I really need a better computer.

  • LarcenousLaugh

    I'm going to throw this out there… but I think Bodahn and Sandal are the C3PO and R2 of Dragon Age. There… I said it.