Wednesday, May 18, 2011

That will teach me to have hope

And now it is time to complain about Dragon Age. Again.

They fixed, improved, polished and expanded everything that needed it with the glaring exception on the worst bit of the first one: the combat is still caught in a strange no mans land between action RPG and strategy. On one hand controlling your character is right out of Baldurs Gate Dark Alliance. There are more abilities for each class that are possible to obtain in a single play through, allowing my rogue to be my rogue. Each class has three or four sub classes to play with, so if it was only up to my character to kill things it would be great. Unfortunately it's. The combat still tries to be strategic even though you have precious little control over what your allies are actually doing.

This is exactly where it starts to fall apart. Party combat is still handled by the same kind of tactical setup that wasn't fun when it was a big part of Final Fantasy 11, and it still isn't fun now. There are canned solutions that work, but none of them include something as simple as 'drink a damn potion because you are getting your ass kicked' so you have to add it. Then when the character gains a level and a new ability you either have to manually add the new ability or chose one of the pre-built ones and re-add the 'do not allow yourself to be killed' part. It's just not fun when paired with the real time action of controlling your own character.

Oh, and the enemy AI is just as stupid. I ran into a dragon that I should not have been able to kill because my party was short a tank. All I had were two rogues and a mage with bad aim. It killed me over and over until I realized that it couldn't run as fast any of my characters (even though it had wings). Picture the following situation accompanied by the theme from Benny Hill. I allowed my mage to die, which didn't take long. The dragon could only track one character at a time, so when it locked on to one I switched to him and ran away while the AI did the only think it could: shoot the dragon in the ass with arrows.

It took a long time, but I killed him, and I am not proud of it.

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