Dragon Age II Demo
The demo is quite good in portraying what a player has to expect in the full game, although many things (especially menus – which seemed more responsive and less sluggish, although I often had to click on confirm repeatedly until it worked) are still locked/unusable. For once it seems the press coverage has been quite good, because the demo is exactly like someone would expect it to be, after consuming all the information that has already been published.
The story mechanics are exposed and hold no surprises over the known explanations, that 2 characters are discussing everything, between the interactive segments the player has control over. I have quite the mixed feelings concerning this, the demo already shows how some things are repeated, because the dwarf telling everything, is usually less than truthful and tries again, if pressured a bit more. So even if the player gets to control the action, there is still no guarantee that it actually took place like this. I’m not sure if this is the perfect solution, if the statement is supposed to be, that this is the player’s story.
As announced, the demo begins with Hawke leaving Lothering. At this point the game world reminds of MDK (if someone can remember this – part two was even from BioWare) – there’s a wide, surrounding game world visible, that’s inaccessible and is maneuvered through by really narrow paths only. The surroundings look very barren and empty, only the characters are more detailed. The GUI is very small and offers little. All party members can still be controlled like DAO veterans are used to, but in the demo that’s never necessary. A right click onto an enemy and waiting until they are down is usually enough. TAB still highlights objects, but except for some rocks and a few (obvious) bodies there was nothing to loot – no problem though, because use of the inventory was locked. Zooming out was decreased visibly, but since the battles didn’t require any tactics (demo difficulty was locked to normal) to win, I didn’t miss the way it worked in part one, it would have been truly superfluous. The dialog wheel is, again: expected, the same as in Mass Effect and mostly removes reading before selecting an option, since it’s now the common good/neutral/bad response. It’s even bundled with icons now, so that not only the good/neutral/bad choice is obvious, but also answers, that will effect “friendships” with the other characters. Know the outcome of your actions before selection. :|
In addition to the scenes with the story-telling dwarf, there are sequences that are (in their function) quite similar/almost identical to the paintings from “The Witcher”, that are accompanied by some narration, while the camera moves around in front of it.
Judging from the demo, it’s really Mass Effect 2 in the fantasy setting of Dragon Age: Origins. That doesn’t mean the game is bad, but people that feared it would be more like ME2 than it would be like DAO, will see their concerns more or less confirmed.
I’m now fully expecting a great adventure story, that’s told within a game mechanic, that’s little more than an action-oriented hack’n'slay between the conversations and cut scenes.
The demo is roughly 1,9 GB in size and it took me about 90 minutes to finish it (I did everything possible and listened to all the optional conversation).