Storytelling

Dragon Age II was kind of misleading

So it is written.

I really liked Dragon Age II. I liked the way they streamlined the combat, I liked that Hawke had a voice, and the dialogue wheel won me over pretty quickly. I could forgive the way they recycled dungeons because they seemed to have learned not to make them so monotonously huge, in the way that had destroyed Origins‘ replay value. Right up to the final battle, I was sure the game was head and shoulders better than its predecessor.

Then the game ended. There was like a three-minute cutscene, Cassandra says something cryptic, and it fades to black. There’s no denouement, no epilogue, the credits don’t even have music. It’s like they just stopped making it.

I got to thinking about this after I came across Kirk Hamilton’s reflections on the game in Kotaku. Because I’ve learned not to pay much attention to what people say about games on the Internet, I’d largely missed the backlash against the game while I was playing it.

While I understand some of the other complaints about DA II, but I think they’re overblown. But for all the work the team did to overhaul the gameplay, the best element of Origins — its story — is where the sequel fell down.

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Craziest sequel ever

Sometime around the end of Clarion West last year, I took a drive up to the Barnes & Noble because I was tired of poking through the awesome University of Washington bookstore and really missed the big box experience. I hadn’t actually planned to buy anything, but then I came across two books that were so awesome just in principle that I couldn’t resist.

The first was a compilation of two novellas by Karl Schroeder titled Virga: Cities of the Air, which everyone reading this blog should find and read immediately. The second is the book I’m actually reviewing right now, thanks to the review feature on Goodreads.com. It’s an unauthorized 1898 sequel to The War of the Worlds in which Thomas Edison conquers Mars, cleverly titled Edison’s Conquest of Mars.

Fascinated yet? I was!

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