Author Topic: Dragon Age II demo available  (Read 6479 times)

Offline Starfox

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Dragon Age II demo available
« on: February 22, 2011, 01:17:05 PM »
True to their words Bioware released today the demo of Dragon Age II

Available from the official site (1.9 GB -- why am I not surprised?)


Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. -- A. Einstein

Offline bobdog

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Re: Dragon Age II demo available
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2011, 03:02:12 PM »
And ... if they get 1 Million downloads of the demo, they'll release two new items to the community:

The Far Cliffs of Kirkwall - Written by a Fereldan refugee as she fled the Blight, this book of poems describes her dreams of a new start in Kirkwall, the city across the sea. Readers will surely be enriched by her insights. (Gives money when read.)

Lothering's Lament - Written by a Fereldan refugee as she fled the Blight, this book of poems contains touching reminiscences of all she had to leave behind. Readers will surely benefit from her experience. (Gives XP boost when read.)


Nice viral means of ensuring their stuff gets played.

Offline Starfox

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Re: Dragon Age II demo available
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2011, 06:14:58 PM »
Well a few points (but we'll need the final release to confirm these)

- Combat dynamic has been increased (especially for mages)
- Combat difficulty was decreased (at least apparently or maybe it's just because I played DA:O too many times)
- In the demo you can't switch to high quality graphics if you don't have Vista with DX11 installed  or Windows 7 (which comes with DX11 included) and a graphic card DX10 compatible (but despite meeting those conditions I couldn't switch to high anyway, clicking on high was producing no result). Additionally for very high quality graphics you not only need DX11 but a DX11 capable graphic card. No way to be sure if those restrictions will be in the final release but in the demo XP users are definitely stuck with Medium quality as they can't install DX11 anyway. (Silver is pissed -- He didn't tell me but I can hear him swearing from 8,000 miles away  :lol: )
- All the customization features for your character are turned off in the demo so we can't test that.

What else can I say... Well it seems that the whole thing is a cross between Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2 (they must have packed them both in a tiny room and waited for a spawn). The interface is very different (and I can't stress enough different which depending on the taste may be a good or a bad thing... I didn't even decide which side to go yet.

There are other changes pertaining to gameplay this time. They rearrange the attributes for example so now cunning serves to calculate your defense while dexterity (previously used to calculate your defense) serves to calculate the chance of a critical hit. So we'll have to re-learn again how to develop a character class without screwing it up.

Oh and I won my special weapon for completing the demo which appeared in my entitlements page on the BIoware site... so great  ::)  :lol: It's a blade anyway and I intend to play my favorite class... mage (which by the way seems to be your typical DA mage... overpowered in range -- but weak in melee).

Sorry I don't have any screenshot (forgot to trigger FRAPS when playing). I'll see that later.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2011, 02:51:44 AM by Starfox »


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Offline Silver Sorrow

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Re: Dragon Age II demo available
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2011, 02:32:29 AM »
That probably was me screaming, yes.  :lol:

Besides the medium quality settings debacle, I've had two crashes: one was probably my fault, and the other wasn't. In my first attempt (female mage), crash #1 occured when I alt-tabbed to desktop so as to fiddle with gamma settings -- the game is confoundingly dark -- and it crashed when I tried to tab back to it. Okay, fine. Start over, as nothing was saved.  The second time I tried out a female rogue and was in the middle of the first fight when, for some reason, my UPS chirped and there was a reboot...

Not too happy about that. I'll try again tomorrow...I mean, later today. You know what I mean. But I did get a screenshot:


Hawke's sister is a brick haaay-owse, btw.

I'll be back later with more upbeat impressions. ::)  This is Mr. Blue Sky, signing off.
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Offline Starfox

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Re: Dragon Age II demo available
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2011, 03:21:57 AM »
Quote
That probably was me screaming, yes.  :lol:

I thought I heard a faint squeak of despair across the ocean  :biglaugh:

Well, I looked at the Bioware social network to see what people were thinking about the demo and -- this is not surprising -- consoles players seem to be mostly over-enthusiastic about it while PC players are mostly pissed.

The silver line and that's clear as soon as you start the demo: DA:O felt like a true PC game; DA2 feels like a console port. Still can't decide myself if the interface and gameplay changes are a good or a bad thing. But now the warrior is able to swing a two handed sword like if it was a butter knife. I wished in DA:O that warriors would be able to swing their 2H swords faster but there? Well it's Bioware (they already did it for Mass Effect 2) they go full left or full right they never seem able to find a middle spot to land on.


Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. -- A. Einstein

Offline Starfox

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Re: Dragon Age II demo available
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2011, 07:20:50 AM »
I finally managed to activate the high quality mode (I was too tired when trying out the demo and just forgot to turn on the DX11 renderer). So here are a few screens of what the game looks like in high quality. As I don't have a DX11 card, I can't test the "very high" quality. All these screen have been downsized so most users can see them with ease (originals were 1920x1080). Just click on the thumbs.


Oh and the old woman with the big horns is Flemeth (for those who'd wondered -- still voiced by Kate Mulgrew by the way).
« Last Edit: February 23, 2011, 07:25:13 AM by Starfox »


Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. -- A. Einstein

Offline Silver Sorrow

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Re: Dragon Age II demo available
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2011, 11:28:53 AM »
I finally got the thing to play all the way to the end without a crash. Turning off AA probably helped. ::)   Still, it looked pretty good even at medium quality, but I'm still interested in seeing high quailty on my own system...

A few things:

- Default female Hawke looks like Morrigan.

- Flemeth is hot.

- So is Isabela. But, strangely enough, not as hot as Flemeth. I think it's the horn-hair. Yow.  :heavym:

- I foresee a ton of NPC tweak mods.

- Mage, again, is probably the best way to go.

- Combat seems more fluid, although the AI is as dumb as ever. (Example: enemy archers running up to my vantage point where I'm blasting the crap out of their boss, and ignoring me to fire at my allies.)

- The menus will likely take some adjustment time on my part; I like the skill tree thing, though. It's all not as rigid as DAO.

- For some reason, all of the main dialog is coming from my center speaker. Makes it hard to hear what people are saying.

- Flemeth is still hot.

- I think there may be something new wrong with me, or at least a new twist on some pre-existing wrongness. Maybe it's a side effect of my Meredith Vieira thing.

- Smart management of my homies meant that I had to run through the "real" ogre battle just twice. First time? Dumb clicking on my part. Carver never made it through either time, so to hell with his lame ass.

- Running around in circles not only gets you out of the way of hurled rocks and charging ogres, it's also fun to pretend you're at the front of a fast, tenacious parade.

- Isabela looked really terrible on medium quality. Thankfully, I didn't have to look at her face, as Bioware provided two fun pendular globular alternatives to her face.

- That might seem like a sexist remark, but I maintain: bite me. I know what I like in her wardrobe.

- There are no savegames, so making it all the way through the demo is a needlessly nerve-wracking ordeal.

- I have to go to the store now -- I'm running low on rat droppings -- so until I can stagger back to my keyboard, I bid thee adieu.
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Offline Starfox

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Re: Dragon Age II demo available
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2011, 12:09:04 PM »
Quote
Still, it looked pretty good even at medium quality, but I'm still interested in seeing high quailty on my own system...

As far as I can tell the real change between Medium and High quality is regarding FX. Magic FX in particular are more refined. The lighting and faces seem to look a tad better too. But the biggest change is about the world textures. I guess they turned on anisotropic only in high and very high. It's difficult to see in the screenshots of course.

Quote
So is Isabela. But, strangely enough, not as hot as Flemeth.

Isabela is certainly hotter than she was in DA:O (remember her, she was the girl who could teach would the duelist specialization in Denerim -- and that you could bed with Zevran too, easier 7 points of appreciations I got from him... 7! dammit I 'm worth at least 25  :lol:). I guess that finally she took her ship and escaped the Blight.

About Flemeth... no comments... Wait, just one: you're weird  :biglaugh:
« Last Edit: February 23, 2011, 12:15:17 PM by Starfox »


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Offline The Rogue Wolf

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Re: Dragon Age II demo available
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2011, 05:29:13 PM »
I suppose this means I'm going to have to eventually finish DA:O, huh? ::)
"Choice one: we flank them using what military men called tactics, and what religious men call divine inspiration. Or, we charge at them head on screaming various obscenities, in what military men call bravery and religious men also call divine inspiration."

Offline Starfox

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Re: Dragon Age II demo available
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2011, 07:02:51 PM »
Quote
I suppose this means I'm going to have to eventually finish DA:O, huh?

Curiously...no. I mean it's better if you have the full story from the first game to understand the general background of the series and recognize some of the characters but other than that it's hardly a sequel. Yeah sure you can import your DA:O saves into DA2 but I really can't even imagine what would be the benefit -- aside from setting some very basic world elements (it's definitely nothing like the involving progression of your character through the Mass Effect games). The character is brand new and has no link whatsoever with the grey wardens. The only bit of the action that take place in Ferelden seems to be Lothering during the darkspawn invasion (and it could be anywhere else really because it has nothing to do with the Lothering from DA:O).

There's a reason why most gaming sites called DA2 a "good starting point for anyone new to the series".  What you don't know because you didn't play DA:O someone in the game will eventually explain it to you sooner or later.


Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. -- A. Einstein

Offline bobdog

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Re: Dragon Age II demo available
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2011, 09:44:42 AM »
So you can't import your character from DAO, right? I was thinking of saving my character somehow, but looks like you can't, or that it wouldn't make a difference.

Offline Starfox

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Re: Dragon Age II demo available
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2011, 10:33:22 AM »
You CAN import your DAO savegame in DA2 (but not in the demo obviously, there's a wide array of things that the demo doesn't allow like accessing your inventory  ::) ). But what it will change are mostly background things -- who you got on the throne, how your playthrough ended, possibly a bit about Morrigan and Flemeth... I imagine that how you solved the situation in Orzammar will be raised at some point, as well as how you dealt with the Dalish... So definitely the background should be modified.

What I meant however I that your character doesn't really care about all that because he/she's not the one who created those background elements. As the player you created them but as far as your character goes there's no "empathy" toward that. It's not like Shepard in ME2 who is greeted like a hero or like a vile sub-product of humanity by a turian shopkeeper depending on how he dealt with the Council problem. Hawke is quite neutral because completely new to all of this. The only link he/she personally has in common with DAO is that his/her mother is a parent of the Grey Warden (and that is only if your Grey Warden was a mage; doesn't work if they were a Cousland or another race) and that he/she fought at Ostagar -- if you choose to be a warrior/rogue (if you choose a mage you're an apostate so you couldn't be at Ostagar but your brother was).

Spoiling example
Spoiler
At one point you'll have to go meet the Keeper Marethari (deducing it from the demo because it's the task Flemeth sets you in the demo) from the Dalish and as you may remember Marethari was the Grey Warden's keeper -- if you chose to be Dalish in DAO. So I imagine that there will be some interesting bits at this point if you played DAO as a Dalish.


But hang on to your save anyway... I know I'll use mines, if only to try to spot the differences  :lol:


Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. -- A. Einstein

Offline bobdog

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Re: Dragon Age II demo available
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2011, 06:24:50 PM »
Okay, so then the question is, how do I keep the character and import into DA2, without having to keep the full 11GB DAO set?

Offline Starfox

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Re: Dragon Age II demo available
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2011, 06:53:15 PM »
C:\users\your_username\My documents\bioware\dragon age\characters\your_character folder (on Vista/7)

That's where are stored the files and savegames for the character you played. You just have to backup this folder.

I don't know yet what the game will look for when importing a character so it's better to keep all the files that are within the folder. Normally the game should search for the last autosave made (which is the most recent savegame.das that the game automatically creates at the very end of the DAO campaign when you quit the throne room for your little parading -- or after your character's burial if you chose the *other* option or any other ending you might have come up with depending on your choices).

Normally uninstalling the game should not delete your saves but it doesn't hurt to perform a backup just in case  ;)

Further explanation: if it's anything like ME2 then you'd just have to set in the DA2 configuration utility the location of your savegame(s) and the game should perform a little trick on them to extract the essential data. You'd just have then to choose the savegame you want to be used to set the DA2 universe.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2011, 07:10:22 PM by Starfox »


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Offline Silver Sorrow

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Re: Dragon Age II demo available
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2011, 10:24:19 AM »
About Flemeth... no comments... Wait, just one: you're weird  :biglaugh:

No disagreement here.  :lol:

I forgot to mention one astounding concession to the fans' frequent-requestery:


Hope they do that with ME3.
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