How to take a good game and make it boring

We’re finally getting actual gameplay footage of Dragon Age 2: The Search for More Money, instead of overblown, exciting cinematic trailers. And, if what we see here is any indication, Black Isle Studios and Baldur’s Gate are rolling over in their respective graves.

I mean, just watch it. The combat looks scarily like Fable, with each face button corresponding to a move. The conversations are *exactly* Mass Effect 2, where you are given three choices: the noble, upright hero, the “just the facts” neutral, or the pushy guy with no time for this shit. It’s like they took Mass Effect and Fable, shoved them together, then set them in a universe where blood was thick and viscous and stuck to fucking everything.

I make no secret that both Dragon Age and Mass Effect are two of my favorite modern franchises. Bioware can do very little wrong, as far as I’m concerned (what they did wrong rhymes with Yade Hempire, and even that was neither this nor that). The problem is, Dragon Age: Origins was a fantastic game, wholly unique from Mass Effect: they were two different, brilliant franchises. Now, it appears we have two games that present their story in the same way, differentiated only by the setting. And that, my friends, is sour, because the more tactical combat of Dragon Age: Origins deserved a sequel to flesh it out.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m still keeping an eye on DA2, if only because Bioware deserve some benefit of the doubt. It’s just that this is not the direction I think anyone wanted the franchise to go. And maybe it’s awesome. Maybe Bioware do know more than we peons do. Hell, they probably do. But it’s still a shame to see the classic style of DA:O disappear in the space of one game.