The Courtroom: Fan Backlash to Dragon Age II

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Well it’s been a little over a week since Dragon Age II came out, so I thought it would be appropriate to address a certain issue that has been discussed in the Bioware community. I don’t know if any of you have heard about this, but fans have had less than favorable words for Dragon Age II. This has caused them to believe that Bioware paid off many critics for favorable reviews. Currently, the user score on Metacritic is slightly above a “4” while the critic score is slightly above an “8.” Pretty big difference. When my friend Paul told me about this last Thursday, I couldn’t help but laugh. By the way, last Thursday the user score was sitting at about a “5.2” so it has dropped since then.

This is all started when Bioware writer David Gaider, in response to the low user score, said, “It looks like /v/ is raiding Metacritic, trying to take us down” (note: /v/ is the video game forum on 4chan). This obviously started a fire storm within the Bioware forums. Many people were outraged that Gaider would try to blame /v/ for the low score. Many believed that Dragon Age II indeed deserved the score it was given, and that people were just expressing their feelings. I don’t know about you, but I’m with the latter. I think it’s absurd to trying blaming 4chan of all places for a score; they aren’t that organized. 4chan is nothing but a cesspool where all the internet trolls gather; you will never convince me that these people have enough brains to organize something like this. I have logged about 4 hours on Dragon Age II, so I cannot tell you everything about the game. However, in the time I have played it, I have noticed somethings which are less than favorable. One of these days I will finish and review the game.

For starters, I loved Dragon Age: Origins. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but it was enjoyable. In Dragon Age II, I love the improved combat system and the Mass Effect-like dialogue wheel instead of that terrible menu like choice system ala Star Wars: Knight of the Old Republic. But I am less than enthused about the story and the more linear approach. The two most important aspects for me when it comes to games are gameplay and story. Graphics is third if you want to know. The gameplay was fine, but for the story aspect, I really don’t consider this a sequel; I think that is a problem. There’s hardly any connection with the first game. If there is no connection like there was in Mass Effect to Mass Effect 2, part of the appeal lessens.

I think due to all of Bioware’s success, they kind of assumed that whatever they put out there would be well received. I think it’s pretty impressive when you have to really think to yourself and say, “When’s the last time they put out a bad game?” They definitely have thousands sipping on their Kool-Aid. But with this success comes more scrutiny; since people are expecting greatness, Bioware must deliver greatness, not mediocrity. One big thing fans have complained about is the failure to deliver on certain promises that Bioware siad would be on display in Dragon Age II, kind of like how Peter Molyneux fails to deliver on every Fable game. I personally have no idea what these promises were; I’m more of a Mass Effect guy (and in all honestly I wasn’t really psyched for Dragon Age II like some other titles). All I know is that this was a big part of the negativity.

Anyways, I won’t ramble on too much about this; I have a feeling that when I finish Dragon Age II, I will remember it as an “OK” game. It definitely is no Mass Effect 2 that’s for sure. I would like to quickly point out that as for as Bioware paying off critics, this would not surprise me at all; after all the video game industry, like other industries, is a business. But I will pose these questions to you: what are your feelings pertaining to this matter? Did Bioware come through or did they fail miserably? Also, for those of you interested, one of the last forum threads pertaining to the matter that has not been deleted can be found here.

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  1. A mediocre Bioware game? That's new, I suppose. Wasn't really interested in Dragon Age from the beginning though.

    Speaking of paying off critics, did you hear about the controversy surrounding the Two Worlds II publisher?

    • yes i've heard about it and it doesn't surprise me. seeing as two worlds was such a critically panned game, there was huge pressure at topware interactive to make two world II a success. one way i guess is to threaten review sites with a blacklist in order to get a good score. they failed miserably and i don't think we'll be seeing another game from them soon. btw, there's a great destructoid article about this. you can find it here.

  2. Pingback: Dragon Age Inquisition Preview | Moar Powah!

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