The Last Action Gamer (Dragon Age 2 related, first post edited)

SageRuffin

M-f-ing Jedi Master
Dec 19, 2009
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Something's been bothering me recently and I hope to get some good discussion out of this. As a disclaimer, do note that everything included herein is based on my own thoughts, beliefs, and observations. Long story short, some of you will not agree with me on this. And that's perfectly fine. All I ask is that you hear me out.

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With the release of Dragon Age 2 last month, there's been a lot of outcry that more games are being "actionified" and "consolized". Now, I'm not gonna get into the latter term since that's been done to death already, but I have noticed that not too many people have commented much on the "actionification" or whatever. And those that do, aren't very nice to the ones who prefer such modifications...

A small background, if I may. I've been a serious gamer (if that even exists) for the better half of my 24 years of existence. I grew up playing action games and fighting games. Again, I grew up playing action games and fighting games. One more time: I grew up playing action games and fighting games. I've played Dragon Age Origins several times and enjoyed it... except the combat - well, that's not exactly true. I was a dual-wielding rogue at one point and actually enjoyed how that felt (being railroaded into keeping certain party members with me notwithstanding). But even so, for the majority of the game, I make no exaggeration when I say the combat in DAO put me to sleep. This is one of a few obvious things we probably won't agree on, and that's the fact that I felt DAO's pause-and-play mechanics were the lowest point of the game (well, that and the core storyline, but it's BioWare, so what can you do?).

If you're wondering about it at this point, yes, I was playing the 360 version. I can't use a keyboard and mouse worth shit. And, trust me, I've tried.

Anyway, I'm not a big fan of pause-and-play games, RPGs or otherwise, and I never have been. They're great games, don't get me wrong, but I can't get too much into the gameplay without me feeling like I'm slogging through to get to the next plot point. I feel as if I have little to no direct control over what the character is doing, I'm simply telling the character who's ass to kick next with the occasional special move. Again, we're not gonna agree on this, but I prefer to be hands-on with my character control, and having the character essentially on auto-pilot feels less like playing a game and more like watching a long interactive movie.

Let's compare those same mechanics to those of DA2. Most of it is what we've seen in its predecessor - active abilities, "special stances", et al. Then comes a new feature: "press A to attack" (again, this is the 360 version). Now I'm actually playing the game, I press a button and my Lady Hawke does a simple attack with her greatsword. Here I feel like I'm doing something instead of just telling my character where to go and letting them handle everything. That's not to say DA2 is without its problems, but if nothing else, I actually feel involved with the combat.

But wait... why is everyone saying that I'm now a "Ritalin-popping, 12-year-old console retard" because I happen to like the way the combat feels now?

My point is, as illustrated by the bold sentence above this paragraph, I prefer a more action-oriented approach to combat, being able to control various facets of a character's abilities (attacking, evading, defending, etc). Like I said, I grew up on action games and fighters, using acute eyesight and reflexes to get through battles versus premeditated strategies and what can be equated to a "stop button". Now, I'm not knocking those types of games, just saying that they're not quite my cup of Kool-Aid.

Is that really such a bad thing in this day and age?
 

TAGM

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Dec 16, 2008
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Well, think of it this way: If people wanted to play an action game, They would play an action game. The people who are complaining about Dragon Age 2 probably played Dragon Age 1 and enjoyed the shit out of it. A chance that makes the game feel like a different genra alltogether isn't going to please them.
Some people like RPG's, some people like Action, some people like both, some people like neither. If you try and impress an RPG fanatic and Action Game hater by making your RPG play (at least in combat) more like the latter then the former, you're going to piss them off. Simple, right?
 
Jul 11, 2008
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Dragon Age II is still an RPG. It's just not a boring point and click Diablo style RPG, anymore. When it comes to gameplay, Western RPGs are better now that they're more action oriented.
Dragon Age II didn't change its genre. It just upgraded its gameplay to current generation.
Yes, these statements will probably piss some people off, but I'm not trolling. I honestly believe this.
 

SageRuffin

M-f-ing Jedi Master
Dec 19, 2009
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TAGM said:
Some people like RPG's, some people like Action, some people like both, some people like neither. If you try and impress an RPG fanatic and Action Game hater by making your RPG play (at least in combat) more like the latter then the former, you're going to piss them off. Simple, right?
I get that much, but I'm wondering why those who prefer action games are frowned upon. Also, if they even like action games at all, or think they're all "frantic button mashers for console idiots".
 

Odbarc

Elite Member
Jun 30, 2010
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Consolized means it's because people are playing console games too much.
FPS have just enough substance these days for people to notice they lack a lot of substance. They were much worse and are still the worst genre available.

There are lots of games that are out there if your willing to TRY new games. Not the next game in line in the only genre you play.
RPG, Strategy, Puzzle, Action, Adventure, and I don't even know what to call League of Legends.
 

Zhukov

The Laughing Arsehole
Dec 29, 2009
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Eh. I'm fine with both.

I enjoy the immediacy of action-y games as well as the tactical management in the DA games and their ilk. Also, I love "tactical pausing". I would have found both Dragon Age games nearly unplayable without it.

However, RTSs tend to bore me. I can't get invested in what inevitably ends up looking like a fight between funny-shaped insects.

Also, I think you'll find that quite a lot of people here play action games. At least half of us, probably more.
 

TAGM

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Dec 16, 2008
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SageRuffin said:
TAGM said:
Some people like RPG's, some people like Action, some people like both, some people like neither. If you try and impress an RPG fanatic and Action Game hater by making your RPG play (at least in combat) more like the latter then the former, you're going to piss them off. Simple, right?
I get that much, but I'm wondering why those who prefer action games are frowned upon. Also, if they even like action games at all, or think they're all "frantic button mashers for console idiots).
Well, RPG's are deeper then action games, generaly. And... Well, stupidity is in comparison to yourself.
In other words - RPG players may be thinking something along the lines of "Well, Action games are shallower then RPG's, so clearly any action fan must be dumber then me! that makes them dumb! Har har."
Course, action games nowadays are pretty popular for people to make a quick buck out of, so they make crap ones, hence the assumption that all of them are dence, as are the fans.
 

Zhukov

The Laughing Arsehole
Dec 29, 2009
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SageRuffin said:
...but I'm wondering why those who prefer action games are frowned upon. Also, if they even like action games at all, or think they're all "frantic button mashers for console idiots).
Oh, that's simple enough.

People who play slower-paced games like to think that their prefered genre is the only one that requires any degree of thought.

There may be a grain of truth in there. After all, some (note: some) action games do boil down to just mushing buttons. Then again, that's like saying Starcraft boils down to "make zerglings, win game".

For the most part you're just looking at good old fashioned snobbery.
 

SageRuffin

M-f-ing Jedi Master
Dec 19, 2009
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80% of DAO was combat, and yet you detested the combat, and somehow you enjoyed the game? Other 20% was the basic RPG-oriented dialogue/cutscenes/loading screens.

Needless to say, I find this hard to believe.

In any event, it took you like half a dozen paragraphs to say "I liked DAO, though I hated the combat. But I really liked the combat in DA2"

That's nice. Good for you.

DA2 tried to do too much with far too little. It tried to appeal to hardcore RPG crowd and the action gamers, along with far too little development time and dollars. This left a shell of a game that few people are happy with, which happens to be entirely "average".
 

SageRuffin

M-f-ing Jedi Master
Dec 19, 2009
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Odbarc said:
Consolized means it's because people are playing console games too much.
Again, is that really a bad thing? Like I said before, I certainly don't have the capacity to use a keyboard and mouse, and trust me, I've tried. Everything about it just feels... off.

So what's a guy to do? It's available for the 360, so why not get it on that. Sure, the game is harder to manage due to a lack of buttons and the HUD isn't as user-friendly, but at least I recognize the hardware interface.

Zhukov said:
I enjoy the immediacy of action-y games as well as the tactical management in the DA games and their ilk. Also, I love "tactical pausing". I would have found both Dragon Age games nearly unplayable without it.

However, RTSs tend to bore me. I can't get invested in what inevitably ends up looking like a fight between funny-shaped insects.

Also, I think you'll find that quite a lot of people here play action games. At least half of us, probably more.
That's great, and I'm not trying to sound acerbic when I say that. Like you said, you love the tactical management in both DA games, whereas I find it unnecessary and a bit of lacking in intuition[footnote]Just personal beliefs here, I feel that playing a "twitch" game requires more skill than one that involves a turn-based or pause-and-play mechanic, simply because the former requires you to think on your toes.[/footnote]. Does this inherently make me "an idiot consoletard" as such? I'd like to think not, and I'd appreciate it if some PC gamers would adopt a similar mindset (wishful thinking I know, but I can dream).

Also, as I said earlier, those that favor DA2's combat scheme are greatly overshadowed by those who feel they've been "betrayed" by BioWare. We're definitely an insignificant minority here.
 

Jaded Scribe

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Mar 29, 2010
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I enjoyed the combat changes as well (and I play on the PC0. Combat in DA:O was definitely sluggish, with characters performing the same animation (for mages, who had only 2 I believe) or highly similar ones for the other classes.
 

MiracleOfSound

Fight like a Krogan
Jan 3, 2009
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I much preferred the combat in DA2, it felt more visceral and involving. Though I did feel both games had far too many fights, to the point where it became a slog at times.
 

SageRuffin

M-f-ing Jedi Master
Dec 19, 2009
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TAGM said:
Well, RPG's are deeper then action games, generaly. And... Well, stupidity is in comparison to yourself.
In other words - RPG players may be thinking something along the lines of "Well, Action games are shallower then RPG's, so clearly any action fan must be dumber then me! that makes them dumb! Har har."
Course, action games nowadays are pretty popular for people to make a quick buck out of, so they make crap ones, hence the assumption that all of them are dence, as are the fans.
Zhukov said:
For the most part you're just looking at good old fashioned snobbery.
Goddamn... we gamers are more a bunch of entitled jackasses than I thought. D:

Vendur said:
Snippage.
Like I said, we're not gonna agree on everything, and that includes my preferred style of writing. Don't like it? Well, I'm not gonna force you to, but I'd appreciate it if you took that "tl;dr" attitude elsewhere.

I know that sounds inflammatory and I apologize. I'm just calling it as I'm seeing it.

Anyway, to be more direct, you kinda missed the point with what I was saying. I found the pause-and-play combat in DAO "eh" while I prefer the instantaneous nature of action-oriented combat. I'm wondering why some players feel like action RPGs - and by extension, action games period - are nothing but button-mashing smackfests made for gamers who aren't old enough to know about the birds and the bees.
 

Kaanyr Vhok

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Mar 8, 2011
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SageRuffin said:
Have you every played a strategic RPG? I dont blame you for not appreciating the strategy in Origins. Its didnt have much. All that spiritual predecessor to Baldur's Gate stuff was lip service.

What I dont understand is how as someone that apreciates action games and fighting games you like DA 2. DA 2 plays more like a stat based RPG that tries to fool you into thinking its an action game with an action adventure camera, lots of blood, and power ranger animations. Its even worse as an action RPG than DA:O was as a stategic RPG. A real action RPG should have combat that is at least close to an action adventure game. It doesn't even come close to action RPGs like Shenmue, Way of the Samurai or Mass Effect 2.
 

SageRuffin

M-f-ing Jedi Master
Dec 19, 2009
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Kaanyr Vhok said:
SageRuffin said:
Have you every played a strategic RPG? I dont blame you for not appreciating the strategy in Origins.
No, I haven't, and I understand how that can be a deciding factor in whether or not one would find the combat in DAO as visceral and bone-crunching as the back summary explained.

Kaanyr Vhok said:
What I dont understand is how as someone that apreciates action games and fighting games you like DA 2. DA 2 plays more like a stat based RPG that tries to fool you into thinking its an action game with an action adventure camera, lots of blood, and power ranger animations.
Like I said in the opening, the game isn't without it's problems. I'd say it plays like a weird mix of Origins, Jade Empire, and Dynasty Warriors. Best believe, when I first played the game I thought it was odd that I couldn't dash, dodge, or even block. But for what it is, I like it.

Maybe I'm just one of the few that didn't have high expectations or something. :/
 

Axolotl

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Feb 17, 2008
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(NOTE: In the below post I am purely talking about combat mechanics since they're the topic at hand).
SageRuffin said:
Is that really such a bad thing in this day and age?
No, but the thing is, action games are made all the time,they aren't a popluar as FPS's true but we still get plenty of Fighting games, Beat em ups and all the other action heavy games. RPGs on the other hand are lying dead in the dust, Bioware's other main franchise is a cover based Third Person Shooter, Alpha Protocol was a mess of twitch mechanics and even the Fallout series has been reincarnated as a dodgy FPS. So sure nobody is saying that action games are bad but surely you can understand why RPG fans aren't happy when another franchise becomes more action-orientated?
 

dyre

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Mar 30, 2011
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What's with all the complaints of "no autoattack" in DA2? Just click an enemy once and your character continues attacking him (hit quickkeys for spells/abilities, obviously). It's not that different from DA:O.

The main difference is that it's a bit more fast paced, so you might not be able to position that cone of cold the way you want it. Also, it's way too easy. But if Bioware makes DA3's combat a bit harder while maintaining the same combat system, I'd love it. What I'd really like to see is a general reduction of action and more investigative/thinking related sidequests, like KOTOR or BG2.

DA2 has some major flaws (repeat dungeons, no character interaction, crappy ending), but combat really isn't one of them.
 

Phoenixmgs_v1legacy

Muse of Fate
Sep 1, 2010
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I really don't think one style is better over the other. Taking action away to add to the tactical-ness of combat is great if done well. If it's not done well then combat just seems boring, and you feel uninvolved in combat. When Dragon Age first came out my friends compared it to FFXII's battle system (the gambits) when explaining it to me, and I'm like I already experienced that battle system so I really didn't have an interest in playing Dragon Age plus I hate the typical D&D setting, it bores me to death. Adding action also has the same problem as if it's not done well. I tried the DA2 demo as a rogue, and it just felt like a bad hack and slash game to me. Why is the dodge move a skill that has to recharge? Why can I only hit X to attack and that's it, no combos or anything? It might as well just have been auto-attack as I felt no reason why I should just keep mashing X to attack over and over again. I'm sure it gets better as you get more skills and stuff but at it's core, it's not that good. On the other hand, Mass Effect 2 plays great, you really feel like you are very active in combat, and there's a good amount of strategic play with your teammates. Combining attacks with a teammate in Mass Effect 2 really feels great.

With the argument that RPGers feel they are better than "action" gamers is really just the RPGers defensive-ness more than anything. IMO, it's a lot harder to adjust from playing slow moving strategic games to fast-paced action oriented games than the other way around. I play all kinds of games and to say RPGs take more skill than "action" games in pure bullshit. Almost every RPG is easy as hell to play once you gain a good understanding of the system (most RPGs have some broken or overpowered skill or whatever to exploit), and almost every JRPG is even easier as you can just overlevel and the enemies are pushovers. Action games (like Bayonetta or Vanquish) require fully understanding the system plus executing great skill on your end as well.
 

SageRuffin

M-f-ing Jedi Master
Dec 19, 2009
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I don't mind action games, but i like my party based rpgs to be tactical like Baldurs Gate.

They do require more thought, like a game of chess, say.

I could tolerate DAO ( though it doesn't compare to Baldurs )

I knew way before DA2 even came out that it wasn't the game for me.

But ppl like me are def in the minority, so i'll stick with the old school rpgs, thank you.

If i want to play an action game, i'll play some Demons Souls.

Bioware's trying to please everyone now, and that just doesn't fly in my book.
 

Weaver

Overcaffeinated
Apr 28, 2008
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People complain because dragon age was supposed to be a reboot of the tactical and old school RPG methodology.

Quite simply, the game shouldn't BE (and imo, isn't) an action RPG. If you want an action RPG, then you can play several of the dozen that release every year.

I've been gaming since I was 4 and I've certainly played my fair share of action games and, of course, enjoy them. But I simply have expectations when it comes to RPG's. Mainly because, if you think about it, Dragon Age is very much about the plot and characters. This isn't a game where the action is the main feature.

For example, in diablo you're not going to be spending 3 hours in town talking to NPCs to get their stories and pursue romance options because it's an Action RPG. And as much as I like doing that kind of thing, it's just not what I signed up for when I went to play Diablo.