Monday, February 28, 2011

Dragon Age II Demo

Demos of games are weird beasts. This one's slightly weirder than most. The demo's rather short, and so shall be this review. I played the original on PC, and this demo on the 360, and if I get this, it'll be on the 360, so the incredibly awkward controls will probably be gone, and hopefully camera controls will actually be worth something, but based on this demo, you should absolutely not buy this game on 360. The graphics aren't any better than the original, and the combat feels incredibly repetitive just within the demo. Mash A. Hit a special power once in a while. You can switch characters, if you want. But you don't really need to. You regain all your health between fights, which is good, because potions have a massive cooldown timer (which didn't seem to be shown). If you give the mage healing, it helps a bit, but since the only way to make a character drink a potion is by switching to them, which is awkward, you'll be switching characters for healing no matter what, so really, you should just switch to the healer and stay there.

So, combat's not that great, how about the conversations? The much-discussed change from lists to the Mass Effect dialogue wheel? Eh, it works except for one thing. Different options are presented with icons to represent the kind of choice it is: comedy, good, combative, etc. However, there's many more types than Mass Effect had, and not every option is present at every dialogue point, so not every location correlates to a type choice. That's something Alpha Protocol did incredibly well. Four options, suave, aggressive, professional, and special, and always in the same location, allowing you to quickly evaluate and choose how you wanted the conversation to proceed. In here, you need to cycle through every option and try and remember how each corresponds to what kind of choice. The voice acting is okay. Not stellar, but not terrible. Really, this demo has not impressed me. So many features were locked (including looking at the bloody inventory!), and so much changed from the original, I'm really not sure if it's worth getting the game new. Honestly, unless you've got the opportunity to get a really sweet pre-order bonus, it might be worth waiting for a price drop.

Edit: I quickly checked out the PC version of the demo, and as long as you're not dumb like me, and attempt to use a track pad, the controls are quite a bit better. The graphics are slightly better, too, but everything else stands the same.

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