By Vamien McKalin | Mar 20, 2013 10:00 AM EDT
Dragon Age: Origins was the best ever Western RPG I have ever played. It was so good that I finished it four times. Therefore, when EA announced Dragon Age 2 was on the horizon, my excitement levels went through the roof as I prepared myself for another thrilling adventure.
However, the moment EA showcased the first gameplay footage of Dragon Age 2, an uneasy feeling began to sink in. The game looked very different compared to Origins, and everything seemed "casualized" for the console player or gamers who found it difficult to get into the first game. Now, don't get it twisted: I am mainly a console player, but Dragon Age: Origins plays a thousand times better compared to its console counterparts.
When I finally got the game, I was impressed in the early stages. The combat was marvelous; such an improvement over Origins and the graphics were as good ever. But then my eyes began to open, and the flaws began to show themselves. The horror, the disappointments, the anger, the rage!
The first problem I came across was the look of the Darkspawn. Why did EA and BioWare reconstruct them into things that looked grey and bland, with skeleton-like faces? The imagination that went into creating the Darkspawn horde in Origins is nowhere to be seen in Dragon Age 2.
Another problem I had was with the new design of Flemeth. You remember her, right? Wicked old feeble Witch of the Wilds who turned into a dragon and tried to eat you. Well, for some strange reason, she's no longer a feeble old woman in rags: she's sexy now, and she walks like a model. Hey, how about Isabella? She was a seductive but not-so-good-looking pirate in Origins who wore light armor. These days, Isabella has a huge rump, big breasts and dresses in skimpy clothing.
The huge misconception is that gamers love to see busty women in the games we play. Yes, some gamers do, but for the rest of us, we don't want to see a sexy old woman walking seductively toward us.
With Dragon Age 3 scheduled for a 2013 release, I would like to see these issues rectified. It's probably too late for the Darkspawns, because the Blight is over and the Deep Roads are all closed, which means we may never come across them again. However, it is not too late for Flemeth. How awesome it would be to see her looking like a true old woman and not one trying to convince herself she's young and perky still.
Furthermore, if Isabella plays a role in Dragon Age 3, put her back in armor. For that matter, don't allow any of the female party characters to wear skimpy clothing. It's so odd, going into full scale war with someone dressed in a nightgown.
Back in Dragon Age: Origins you could tell how much power a player had by the type of armor party members wear, but that's not the case in Dragon Age 2. Party characters are stuck in the same armor/clothing throughout the game, and the only things a player is able to change are the weapons, and nothing more. EA and BioWare need to consider bringing back these options in Dragon Age 3, and allow for more customization because that is always a good thing.
Other design mishaps of Dragon Age 2 include, for example, that almost all caves in Kirkwall looked the same. Did all the game's development money go into making Isabella a sex object? Alternatively, did EA choose to throw less cash into Dragon Age 2 to maximize profit? I guess we'll never know. What we do know is this: if Dragon Age 3 fails to usher in the return of core gameplay elements, it will likely not succeed.
While Dragon Age 2 was a decent game, it lacked the magic of Dragon Age: Origins. It would be sad if EA and BioWare fail to acknowledge what fans want of the franchise and give it to us in the next game.
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