Dragon Age 2 SUPERRoundup: Dialogue, Framed Narrative, Graphical Update, More

It’s that time once again boys and girls: the time where Dragon Age 2 information is taking up way too many tabs on Firefox, so I have no choice but to relay the smaller details which you may have missed. You may have missed them because you’re not insane like me, and you don’t take to combing the recesses of the internet for any and all details surrounding the game. But, enough about my insanity…let’s talk about Dragon Age 2! And let’s talk about it at great length.

  • Dialogue choices you make may be enveloped under Mass Effect’s conversation wheel, but there’s actually an underlying mechanism that makes the conversation wheel unique from ME’s. You see, dialogue choices influence what dialogue is made available to you later, too. So, being the knight in shining armor will make more “good” options appear, but if you choose to take things lightly and joke around a lot, one-liners may be in your future. While interesting in theory, I’m unsure if I, personally, will enjoy this dialogue change: I tend to play very erratically in terms of personality and actions. Playing a certain way may shoehorn me into being able to ONLY play in that way. This also means that the paragon/renegade system may still be taking over DA2 in spirit, because you’ll have to play an extreme character in one way or the other to be able to take more of those options, if not take the more “advanced” good/bad options (the equivalent of which would be the red/blue options in Mass Effect).
  • As you know, combat is getting a rehaul–the whole, ‘Think like a general, fight like a spartan’ bit. Mike Laidlaw expands on this, citing that they wanted to get rid of “shuffle and lag.” Those who have played the Dragon Age 2 demo have made comparisons to God of War and Fable (spartan), only you have the ability to pause and give out orders (general). Moreover, Laidlaw says that “You have every ability you had in Origins in terms of being able to attack, move and position guys. But it’s faster, way more fluid, way more comprehensible. You may have to pause a little bit more to pull off the ‘grand strategy,’ but you can still pause the game, move between all of your characters… All those things are still there.” On the more tactical side of things, this new “responsive” system makes for faster orders. “”What I never felt was that my orders were being followed in that they weren’t orders so much as suggestions. Alistair would kind of move up, get in position, then attack, and I was like, ‘Dude, get up their with your sword and hit the guy,” Laidlaw says. And, sure enough, previews cite the ability to cast instant orders…which come at the expense of longer recharge times.
  • Origins players may expect many a nod and rewards. Not only will our overall choices affect the world in Dragon Age 2, Laidlaw also teases that Origins players will note many references and “secrets” which other players will not recognize. The experience will be “fulfilling” for Origins players, says Laidlaw…I’m hoping this means we’ll get something better than what Mass Effect 2 did with its email system, because that was pretty lame. Bioware says these events will depend on the gravity of the choice. “Depends on the decision and its relevance to DA2 – some choices in Origins (or Awakening) are more integral to what is happening in DA2, others are mere rumours of things that may be happening far away in ferelden – and are reflected in that way.” And, for those players who are upset over our inability to keep playing as the Warden? Laidlaw cryptically says that “We want the warden to certainly be in there.” It’s unclear if he means that the Warden will make an appearance, or if he’s simply talking about the Warden’s choices. It would be amusing to have Hawke meet the Warden, though, no?
  • Details on the graphical update: “We’ve enhanced our graphics engine to support a bunch of new technical features such as self shadowing, enhanced terrain generation and smoother lip synch and more face customization. It’s not a complete overhaul, but the end result looks better and runs smoother” says Laidlaw. “The redesign of the visual style has an added benefit of running much smoother on our engine. We can get a lot more creatures on screen, with better framerates,” he adds.
  • The social network will continue to be supported in DA2, and we can expect to be able to “upload” our Hawke to it. More specific details on how this functionality will differ or diverge from what Origins offered are not yet available says Bioware.
  • Those of us that fear the Shepard-ing of DA, fear not. Bioware has no intention of creating a Hawke myth ala Shepard, but rather creating a larger gameworld. Hawke himself isn’t the point, inasmuch as the details surrounding how the game world got to be on the brink of war–Hawke just happened to influence this. “While hawke may have a continuing role in the series, I have always viewed Dragon Age as a series of games about the world, rather than about individual characters. Not to say Hawke isn’t important, he is, but the world is really our focus.”

And, that’s about it for today’s uber roundup.