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Old 11-06-2009, 11:39 AM   #21
MagiK
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Join Date: December 18, 2003
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Default Re: First Impressions

Dragon Age: An after Action report.
The game is fun and I would give it 8 out of 10 stars for the early part of things. (Im level 5 and just finished becoming a Warden)

That being said, Im a bit disappointed by the game Engine/World. I've become spoiled by Bethesda's Fallout 3 Where every item is a real 3d object even the trash, every building can be entered and explored, every wrecked vehicle has an interior and if some punk is beating youw ith a giant Maul you can kill him and use the Maul to beat other punks.

Basically the game engine is just a souped up Never Winter Nights engine where the only destructible or interactable items are those that are scripted, where a fallen log is an impassible barrier but does not provide cover from incoming missiles....I miss being able to climb on logs and boulders and using terrain as cover. I also miss the freedom to go anywhere, even underwater...in DA you can't even get your feet wet.

So I like the game but am not blown away by the Engine.
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Old 11-06-2009, 12:43 PM   #22
JrKASperov
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Join Date: July 16, 2003
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Default Re: First Impressions

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpiritWarrior View Post
Is it that they're just fps kiddies trying to mow everything down? You know, no pausing, taking care of their "main" char only and expecting the rest to happen on its own. I mean, anyone who has played BG to NWN to PS:T knows the value of pausing and queueing up actions. How in the hell are these people "wiping almost every fight" on normal mode?
I just played a part of the game and... you just touched something that really bothers me with this game. The AI sucks badly. They do chaotic stuff in combat, and no matter what you do, setting up their tactics (only 2 slots without feats? BAD!) or behaviour or queueing up orders, they never seem to be doing what you want. I want them to attack something? They do but suddenly stop doing that and don't bother attacking anything else. I want them to auto-attack something else? They chase it and get seperated and die. I click another character to queue up actions? The one I just had controlled suddenly loses all coherence and starts doing its AI routine, which as I just mentioned is stupid. I wish this game had AI disabling just like BG or NWN2. At least then the chaotic real time engine would be a bit controllable.

Other things that I noticed:
-game engine is well optimized and runs like a charm. No overdone bloom, no disgusting use of HDR, but it just looks good, especially in tactical camera mode.
-writing is okay (not great), plot is generic fantasy boring, voice acting is atrocious so far with disjointed lines that feel really artificial and the characters are flat and give no reason to care for them. Especially the dying family member scene in the noble start... I just wanted him to die and get over with the silly drama for characters I don't care about.
-inventory works cool with 'shared pool' of stuff.
-I'll mention it again: all semblance of tactics go out the window with this chaotic engine with really crummy AI. It is WORSE than NWN2.

And another thing: I'm playing a rogue. How do you backstab/flank attack whatever? I'm always seeing the same amounts of damage regardless of flanking, stealth etc. The manual wasn't very helpful.
EDIT: so my char is showing the proper backstab animation when I'm flanking (you gotta be at the black part of the target circle) but it hardly does any more damage than normal. Is that because I'm using daggers?
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Old 11-07-2009, 06:52 AM   #23
Luvian
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Join Date: June 27, 2001
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Arrow Re: First Impressions

You get more tactics slots as your characters gain levels, as well as to the right of the tactics window there's a behaviour drop down with different ones including some that are less aggressive. Personally I like how my tactics are set up and I have no problem with how my characters use their skills.

Make sure your characters aren't in hold position mode because if they are melee they will cease attacking if the target moves out of range.

You're way too early to judge the story if you're just at the origin part. That's not even considered the prologue yet. Also you really need to read the codex entires if you want to get the most of the story. Their setting is really well thought of.
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Old 11-07-2009, 02:27 PM   #24
SpiritWarrior
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Default Re: First Impressions

I too have found no real AI issues, other than yes, my rogue does sometimes not attack automatically and I have to actually queue up an action for her. But this is all. I too am not that far in so can't say for sure if there are major issues or not. So far though, I am fine and haven't even had to mess around with tactics (by default they are filled in for you). I will let you know if I do start to see an issue with this later on.

Hey btw, anyone know a console command to kinda respec the extra tactics I got via skills/points? You know, where you get to add points and then get more than the default. I accidentally took them thinking they were something else, and am fine with the amount of slots I had but could use the points elsewhere. I just don't wanna bork my game or anything so am looking for a quick, safe console command.
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Old 11-07-2009, 03:44 PM   #25
JrKASperov
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Default Re: First Impressions

I think I've found the problem with the AI. Default behaviour does what I want sort of. I can manually issue orders and they'll follow it, but I cannot seem to queue anything (move and then attack for instance, second order will overwrite). But additional combat tactics ruin everything. If someone is set to use Dirty Fighting on a condition, for instance, they will do that even if you just told them to go stand over there as soon as you switch characters to give orders. It is better to manually activate such powers, but I think it is fine for sustained powers.

Also, the camera restriction to "controlled character must be in screen" is really really annoying. The way combat works still doesn't hold up to NWN2 imo, though cooldown abilities instead of once/day is good, because it works better with RT engine. In the end it is enjoyable, but mostly because it is not so easy as the latest rpg's.

Flanking attacks still seem to do negligent bonus damage.
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Old 11-07-2009, 06:49 PM   #26
SpiritWarrior
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Default Re: First Impressions

Right, you can't queue anything, like you can in NWN 1 and 2. Well, you can queue one thing but no more than one. That I did notice immediately. Move and attack you can do by simply clicking the attack on an enemy, and your char will move within range and then perform the attack/spell. But to move somewhere "odd" and then attack, no, you gotta hold their hand with that (such as rogue backstabbing). These things I can live with, personally.

This engine and game are in their infancy. And for something so young it is very well polished considering everything else. It already runs better than most games I have played at launch. But I notice little things too, I mean, in your inventory you have a built in "Equip Compare" mod that shows what you are wearing in comparison to what the item you are viewing. That's an awesome touch. Then you have "party inventory" as opposed to one for each player, items are universal for ease of use. Usually games don't come with fine tuning like that until patches or expansions later - if they come at all.

Take NWN2 for example, I went back and played it there last week, and gave up within a few hours. Whatever they did to the aurora engine seems to be irreversible. The thing still groans under scripting and spawning, while load times take an eternity and the AI seems not to have improved at all. Yet NWN1, while it is old, is very well optimized now, yet after 2-3 years NWN2 is still falling behind.
I uninstalled it, despite my best intentions to play the thing through, I simply could not do it. "Clunky" doesn't even describe my experience. Then DA:O came along, and now I doubt I will ever pick up NWN2 again. This game is where its at imo. Man, EA have done well this year, Sims 3 and DA:O alongside the lukewarm success of WAR.
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Old 11-07-2009, 07:34 PM   #27
Chewbacca
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Default Re: First Impressions

I thought it was standard to farm A.I. out to the community anyway.
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Old 11-09-2009, 10:16 AM   #28
Chewbacca
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Default Re: First Impressions

I've started both the Magi and Human Noble Origins, I don't know yet which I'll finish the game with first.

So far I like the amount of humor in the dialouge, writing is on par with what I expect from a Bioware team. A few scenes did miss their marks.

I also enjoy the original world and various takes on fantasy conventions. It avoids being overly cliche while remaining familiar.

This all adds up making it fairly easy to get immersed into the setting from the beginning.
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Old 11-09-2009, 06:35 PM   #29
Gabi
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Default Re: First Impressions

Lots of discussion here about the game engine. The BG games are a VERY tough act to follow and Bioware have done very well with this game in that you can make it look like the Baldur's Gate games. In fact it's brilliant because while waiting for the spiritual successor to BG I have all been playing Oblivion, The Witcher, Morrowind (again!) and got used to running camera over shoulder and DA:O does both brilliantly!. My big worry about this game was that it was going to take itself too seriously and lose the humour of Baldur's Gate. Have just completed The Joining as a Human Noble and nothing hilarious yet, but the signs are good. Who can forget the Gnolls in BG......."Die, scum....Woof!" and your first meeting with Imoen, "Hey, it's me, Imeon!", The Flaming Fists, peasants standing around scratching their behinds....
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Old 11-10-2009, 08:50 PM   #30
Greything
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Default Re: First Impressions

I got the game a few days later than most here.

A combination of late release dates in Europe and postal strikes in the UK did not help.

I can't say I'm happy. All the video scenes make me think I'm watching a movie rather than playing a game. At lower levels the parties can easily get overwhelmed by a mass of enemies. This seems to be down to luck as enemies can hit, or not, without warning as the party moves out of a safe area.

I know I can rig party tactics and I am doing that. However, I am finding it very frustrating. It's not that I want to blast through it but because I have to back off and reload so many times that it is getting annoying.
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