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Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

(Title image by Waffleman_)
(image may not be representative of actual game)

Hmm. What IF we changed more about a future Dragon Age than you might like? Quel horreur!

I imagine it would look something like this:

Stage 1: Denial
Posts of "no, it can't be true!" and "maybe they didn't mean what we think it means!"

Stage 2: Anger
As the truth sinks in, posts of "Bioware, you have betrayed all that is good and righteous!" and furious predictions of financial collapse and boycotts, etc. etc.

Stage 3: Bargaining
Hopeful posts of "Well, if we don't get X will we still get Y?" and "Well, since there's still Z maybe X won't seem that bad" or even "Will we be able to change X ourselves?"

Stage 4: Depression
"Bioware is dead", "RPG's are dead", etc. ad nauseum as that glorious, scintillating might-have-been is now really gone.

and finally Stage 5: Acceptance
You see whatever game it is for what it actually is and enjoy it on its own terms.

or, alternatively Stage 5: Acceptance
You realize it's not the game for you, but might be for other people. You move on.

or, if you really must, you go back to Stage 1: Denial
You refuse to accept the presence of X in your beloved game, or any game for that matter, and begin a bitter campaign to convince everyone else that it is the travesty you think it is. If you play the game, you are determined to hate it-- and voila! You do! Possibly you hang out on RPG Codex. least, that's how it usually happens. Or so I've found over the years.

- David Gaider
Lead Writer for Dragon Age II

Not gaming's best story, but maybe its best storytelling. Darker, sexier, better.

-PC Gamer

Yes! This! You guys have no idea how cute Merrill is. I work here and and I still squee when she says things I haven't heard.

There's a lot of this in the writer pit:

Merrill (in-game): (something unbelievably cute)
Mary: Hee hee.
Sheryl: She's so adorable I love her and want to hug her omgIcan'tbelievehowadorablesheisCAN-I-NOM-HER-HEAD?!
Mary: ... No.

- Sheryl Chee
Head Writer for Dog, Dragon Age: Origins

That's right motherbitches, it's Dragon. Age. Mother. loving. Two.

The myth. The legend. The game that finally killed off any vestiges of goodwill Bioware had accumulated over my past decade and a half of PC gaming.

The sequel to a game that Bioware spent over half a decade developing, Dragon Age 2 was developed in significantly less time. Like, barely over a year. Not much of that time was spent on pesky timesinks like "designing maps," "designing combat encounters," "balancing the combat," or "creating a remotely coherent storyline", as Bioware focused on what really mattered: writing a harem of psychologically broken dipshits who will gladly gently caress you no matter how much they hate you. This last part was something Bioware actually used to publicize the game.

Following release, Bioware decided that anyone who didn't like this obvious masterpiece was a 4chan troll and started banning people en masse from the Bioware forums, and subsequently their EA Accounts. You read that right, criticizing this trainwreck amounted to a lifetime ban from any future EA games. Their solution to remedy this problem was to lock the Dragon Age 2 forum so that anyone without Dragon Age 2 linked to their Bioware social network account was unable to post. That policy persists to this day.

I'm not gonna try to go extensively into metagame knowledge and how lovely this game is compared to Dragon Age: Origins, as that'll just add more time and effort expended on what is probably the worst idea I've had since downing 5 pints of Pabst and 3 shots of Black Velvet then getting behind the wheel of my mom's toyota and driving to my parents' wedding anniversary dinner.

Before we begin this epic voyage through Dragon Age 2, a game where everything's shat up and none of the choices matter, some disclaimers:
  • I'm not doing any DLC. At all. Don't ask. No Exiled Prince, No Legacy, No Felicia Day's Retard Fuckfest Adventure.
  • I'm not taking reader input. At all. Much like David Gaider, I'm not going to let an annoying thing like audience input get in the way of the epic story I want to tell.
  • I'm probably going to put as much effort into writing these posts as Bioware did into making Dragon Age 2.
  • I hate this game. This LP will reflect that.

With that said, let's jump in!


CrushedB takes us to the Kirkwall Zoo for a look at the local fauna.

MoonwalkInvincible brings us an image that was labored over with as much attention to detail as the Dragon Age 2 script!

bhlaab treats us to some eye candy of Kirkwall's dreamiest apostate mage:

Starmaker gets moe as gently caress y'all:

Comrade Question fires up mspaint to give us a look into the Bioware writers' room:

Pear takes us backstage at the Kirkwall stop of the Mechanical Animals tour:

And gives us another perspective on asexual internet celebrity Ben Yahtzee Croshaw's favorite ginger boy toy:

Strong Convections gives us a glimpse at the game we all actually want to play:

Horrible Smutbeast takes us inside the scintillating banter of Valerie's fallback party:

and gives us a look at the rest of Valerie's motley crew:

And presents the greatest image crafted by human hands:

click for full version!


Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

We open on some dudes dragging this bargain-basement Ray Winstone midget motherfucker around a castle and throwing him into a chair. I didn't turn on the subtitles at this point in the game yet, and I'm not going to replay this segment just to get new screenshots.

This chick wants to know about "The Champion" and she isn't taking no for an answer. When the dwarf says something predictably smartass, she throws a knife at his dick only for the book in his lap to barely stop it. Coincidentally, I'm barely through the tutorial of this game and I already want to murder my dick and balls.

Anyway, we open on a bunch of Marilyn Manson video extras running up a hill in incredibly jerky motions (this effect enhanced by the integrated video card on my laptop,) to confront...

Our hero, the legendary rogue Valerie Hawke,

and her sister, Titty McBoobsalot.

And now, for the legendary combat. Let's review the design philosophy at play here:

You know how in most games, backstab happens automatically when you position yourself behind an enemy and you continue to backstab as long as their back is to you? Yeah, in this game it's a triggered transportation attack with a cooldown, making it something you can only use occasionally. Not that it matters, as moving your arm vaguely in the direction of an enemy makes them explode like a trashbag full of blood and limbs.

So I kill the first wave of emaciated retards and another one appears.

Titty asks me if I want her to kill them for me. Eager to skip as much combat as possible, I tell her to knock herself the gently caress out.

And then I still have to fight them anyway. gently caress.

This will be a recurring theme throughout Dragon Age 2. Endlessly respawning waves of trash mobs. This is probably the last time you're going to see the combat screen for quite a while, because gently caress screenshotting these encounters.

So after killing several dozen trash mobs, an ogre spawns, accompanied by more trash mobs.

He goes down like a sack of wet poo poo and Hawke stabs him in the face.

Then more darkspawn arrive.

You have no idea, tits...

Yhen a big fuckoff dragon appears and divebombs everyone, blasting them with waves of fire, searing the flesh off their bones-

Okay, yeah, I was just trying for a "rocks fall, everybody dies" ending so I wouldn't have to experience the rest of this story sprung forth from the pens of Jennifer "pestering the animators for unique gay sex scenes" Brandes Hepler, Sheryl "gigglesquee" Chee and David "Twilight owns" Gaider.

The truth is that I make incredibly poor life decisions and this is probably one of them.

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

Farecoal posted:

Well this looks good already

works on my machine?

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

I have one save file that I am overwriting every time I quit the game. Playing this game is the equivalent of ripping a scab off. No second guesses, no looking back.

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

Let's meet our hero, Valerie Hawke and learn the history of Ferelden:

Had I actually bothered to finish Dragon Age: Origins, we would be loading a save where Valerie fled Lothering shortly after the departure of Grey Warden Davros Cousland, the future warden-commander, who would go on to bang the poo poo out of Morrigan so that he could survive and be the proud father of a demonbaby. However, I didn't finish, so I'm choosing the pre-created origin that most closely matches my theoretical playthrough.

Varric gives a brief recap of the events of DA:O; the king was betrayed by his right-hand man and almost all the grey wardens died at Ostagar. These cutscenes are probably some of the coolest parts of the game because of the art direction in them.

And now we meet the Hawke family:

Valerie glares in disgust at her shitlord little brother Carver. Valerie and Carver hate each other for some unexplained reason. I'm just guessing, but it might have something to do with carver being an insufferable generic male bioware

Your sister Bethany, who has noticeably smaller tits irl than in the tutorial.

And your mom, who whines and complains a lot.

gently caress yeah, time for some combat! So then I slaughter a trash mob of darkspawn.

You and me both.

Bethany asking the tough questions.

Carver giving the obvious answers.

Aimlessly. That's a good one. Notice the map in the first in-game screenshot. See how it's a straight line? It remains one for this entire area. Anyway, mom says we have relatives in Kirkwall.

Needless to say, we don't wander aimlessly and it isn't away from the darkspawn. after a trash mob, we encounter Wesley and Aveline, a templar and his wife. Wesley immediately gets stabbed and Aveline saves him, saying "they will not have you. Not while I draw breath." Wesley talks some poo poo about how Bethany's an apostate and you can't trust apostate mages, and Valerie tells him to gently caress off. He repeats that she's an apostate twice so you know this is really important.

I forgot to upload the screenshots of this part before I deleted them. They're not that important anyway.

Anyway, 4 trash mobs of darkspawn later-

Valerie and her party come across a familiar looking area.

Wesley continues to display the manly bravery that will make him a valuable member of Hawke's entourage for years to come.

Yep, it's the same ogre.

Carver gets loving owned, Carth 3.0 is taken off the board, and we get another opportunity to view Bioware's masterful facial animations.

Anyway, the ogre fight proceeds the same way as last time, except your equipment is poo poo, you only have 2 combat skills instead of like 6, and your health doesn't regenerate as fast, so basically it's worse in every single way.

Mom starts whining again.

Valerie's had enough of this poo poo and decides to snap the old bat out of it.

Actually, i'm pretty sure it was the ogre's.

Are you likin' these Whedonesque one-liners? Boy, you're in luck, because this game has shitloads of them!

and Wesley starts doing his religious poo poo. Watching him pray to Dragon Jesus or whatever, I begin to wish there was a renegade interrupt system in this game so Hawke could just cut in with "IM AN ATHEIST. DEAL WITH IT." and spare us some of these prolonged cutscenes.

Anyway, while Wesley was busy praying, guess what snuck up on us?

That's right. Another trash mob.

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

Patter Song posted:

Quite. Though I'm not sure Zorak will find it as such. Still, wasn't the entire point of the "LP as Art" contest to break us out of our petty, constrained formulaic notions about what Let's Play is? I'm up for giving him a chance.

He does need to stop image leeching and table-breaking, though, because gently caress that.

My personal Steam account that was provided to me by Valve for the express purpose of hosting my screenshot is considered "image-leeching"?

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

Gorgo Primus posted:

So... what is your goal here?

To share the wild ups and downs of Valerie Hawke's whirlwind journey towards becoming the most important person in Thedas (The Dragon Age Setting)!

You will thrill to her life and loves and endlessly respawning waves of dog lords!

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

Artix74 posted:

you're not going to be taking any reader input...Why are you doing this, again?

Please give me a chance to choose here in a game where everything you do is deus ex machinaed back onto the Golden Path that the writer and his underlings has chosen.

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

Unlucky7 posted:

I think he may mean general tips to make the LP better, cause it, quite frankly, stinks at this point.

DA2 may deserve an angry LP, but not this one.

Sorry that I am not living up to the posting legacy of forums superstar The Dark Id.

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

When we last left our heroes, Carver had just been smashed to poo poo by an ogre and everyone else had to hide their glee long enough to appear solemn while Wesley did a halfassed funeral for him. all of a sudden, darkspawn appeared! (The same darkspawn they'd just spent the past half hour massacring by the truckload.) Things were looking grim for our heroes for all of 2 seconds when suddenly-

A big fuckoff dragon appears and divebombs everyone, blasting them with waves of fire, searing the flesh off their bones.

Remember how inquisitor adrastia Seeker Iforgothername screamed "Bullshit! That's not what really happened" at this point in Dwarven Chest Rockwell's story? It turns out that's exactly what really happened.

So the dragon lands and glows for a little bit, then something unexpected happens:

She turns into this motherfuckin' GMILF

An erection.

For someone whose brother has just died in front of her and was just rescued from the jaws of death by a gigantic purple dragon, Valerie is remarkably composed about all this.

Humor in the face of tragedy. That's our valerie!

Ferelden assisted living's playmate of the year is suitably impressed by Valerie's clever tongue. At Comiccon this year I angrily asked David Gaider why I couldn't put that "clever tongue" to use and eat out Flemeth (spoiler: this is Flemeth) right there on the spot. He told me they're "looking into a Flemeth romance for da3". Jennifer Brandes Hepler assured me that she was talking to the animators about adding a transformation into the sex scene, and in the process of negotiating a lucrative licensing contract with Bad Dragon.

Anyway, boomin' granny, boomin' fanny says she might be able to help me yet.

Naturally, Valerie is skeptical of the charity of this bitch after she refused to teach her how to get in touch with her scalesona.

Aveline reminds everyone that she's still here and still insufferable.

Hm, Flemeth. that sounds familiar...

Oh yeah. why the makeover?

"From virginal girl next door to crazy up against the wall let's have it on right here"
Thanks, Bioware.

"And I do mean... anything" *licks lips lasciviously*

Oh. A fetch quest. Yay.

Oh yeah, remember when Wesley got stabbed? (Probably not because I deleted the screenshot before uploading it, lmao) Despite the fact that Valerie, Bethany and Aveline have spent the past half hour fighting darkspawn, getting stabbed by darkspawn and covering themselves in more darkspawn blood than a dmx album cover, Wesley's been tainted as a result of his wound and now he's going to turn into a darkspawn.

Aveline lacks the moral fiber to do what must be done.

Valerie has no such compunctions.

This dialogue is meta as gently caress.

So anyway, the entire journey is reduced down to a 30 second animated cutscene which i then cut down to 2 screenshots. Its a good thing bioware didn't let a pesky thing like interactivity get in the way of the story they wanted to tell.


Ah, scenic kirkwall. I can't wait to spend the next 30-40 hours here! Let's get inside and get this motherbitch kicked into high gear-


Always a clever quip on hand!

So mom whines about how respected our family is in Kirkwall and how we have to get inside.

Note that they don't actually show the man Aveline is talking about, proving yet again that Bioware have taken the common writer's mantra of "show, not tell," realized that wasn't in play in Stephanie Meyers' twilight, and promptly set that poo poo on fire and pissed on the ashes.

Aaaand we're in kirkwall. Apparently Aveline is still holding a grudge against me from that time I stabbed her husband in the heart.

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

Ceciltron posted:

I don't know what you have against GMILFS, "sniper4624", but you can take your attitude right on out of this thread, buster. This is a darker sexier, gmilfs are encouraged, GOD.

Thank you Ceciltron, clearly you understand what the Dragon Age 2 experience is all about.

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

Ceciltron posted:

Sorry, I'm drunk as hell and this thread is poo poo. You're a moron.

Thank you Ceciltron, you clearly understand what the Dragon Age 2 experience is about.

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

sorry about the images being too big, guys, I've got a screenshot from my upcoming SKYRIM lp that falls within the required image dimension guidelines.

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp


Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

Thank you for your interest in this let's play, but I'm trying to limit it to about one major setpiece a day so as not to become too dark, sexy, best, because that would just overwhelm all other threads by comparison and I wouldn't want to damage the LP subforum community to that extent.

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

RentCavalier posted:

I thought the GMILF jokes were kind of funny.

But...what the hell did they do to Flemeth? Why is she a dragon? No really WHY IS SHE A DRAGON I never beat DA:O because that game is like pounding nails into my dick, but I'm pretty sure I'd have remembered if Flemeth could BECOME A loving DRAGON.

Hawke brings out the crazy up against the wall let's have it on right here in every woman.

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

When we last left Valerie, Bethany, Aveline and Mom, they had just arrived at kirkwall to find the gates closed to all refugees.

We head up to the man Aveline apparently pointed out as the one the guards were reporting to. (No guards are reporting to him at all.)

Seeing our weapons, the guard correctly identifies us as potential bullies and lets us know that Kirkwall elementary has a zero-tolerance policy.

A scathing indictment of America's border policies.

There are 3 dialogue choices at this point and all of them yield the same line of dialogue from Hawke.

We get it dude, refugees are trash and you're a big jerkface.

As we head towards Captain Ewald, Bethany strikes up a conversation with Aveline.

(In case the game hasn't beaten you over the head with it enough yet, Templars and Mages really don't get along. don't worry if you haven't figured this out yet, they'll repeat it over 9000 more times before this game's over.)

We reach the main square. Get used to this environment, you're going to be seeing it a lot. Captain Ewald is dealing with a rowdy band of mercenary deserters as we approach.

"And strewth, a chav roight nicked me mobile! Blighter fancied it, so he nicked it! Bloody 'ell, mate!"

Valerie busts right into the conversation, laying on the charm...

...and gets shot down. Goddammit Bethany, if only your tits were bigger we'd be home free.

Valerie and Bethany bring up their uncle and the estate again.

Oh man, I think we're in for an ironic reversal of our expectations here!

Around this point the designers realized there hasn't been any combat for at least 5 minutes, soooo...

These 5 guys magically turn into a trash mob of 25 mercenaries and we have to kill them all.

After dispatching them with minimal effort, Ewald berates his jerkface underling for not responding sooner and thanks Valerie and company.

...for a price.

Aaand, a few days later...

This game has to end.

well, this guy looks like a fine, upstanding citizen with a palatial estate!

This line might work if, you know, her face wasn't completely devoid of wrinkles and she didn't have gravity-defying tits that rival those of her much younger daughters, but hey, her hair's gray!

Again with the whining! Jesus woman, don't you ever cheer up?

Even Bethany is getting disgusted with Valerie's constant attempts to seduce every man she encounters.


Well aren't you just a loving ray of sunshine, mommy?

But fear not, Gamlen has a plan!

We're going to whore ourselves!

Yea, getting gangfucked in every hole for money. Whatevs. At least we don't have to fight trash mobs of darkspawn and bandits anymore."

Unfortunately, I can't say the same for this game.

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

And now, let's observe the lovingly crafted unique quests and dialogue that Bioware puts literally thousands of man-hours into planning, writing and programming:

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

JGBeagle posted:

You know, if you just reduced the size of the pictures to the same as your Mass Effect ones it would be fine.

And I did find that kinda funny. Bioware has no talent.

Mass Effect ones aren't mine, but I can timg future screenshots if its really going to be such a problem. I can't really resize them as I don't have any image editing programs other than ms paint and let's face it, not even postmodern literary deity Andrew Hussie can create his art with ms paint anymore, so what hope is there for me?

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

Hafl posted:

This LP is completely wrong and not working at all. I now want to play Dragon Age 2.

I'm sorry.

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

As my troupe of stunning beauties poses hips a-cocked, Bethany reminds us that we need to get into the city. Thanks, I had forgotten that in the past 5 seconds. Well, off to the brothels to sell ourselves for a year.

Valerie and her friends trudge slowly down an alley, resigned to a year of deep-dicking in exchange for entrance to the city of chains, when they are are accosted by a suspicious-looking character.

That neck. That fuckin' neck.

For those counting, we're 2 for 2 on fetch quests now.

We head into the square to find Merchant Cavril, thoughtfully indicated by a glowing yellow arrow and a glowing orange name in case we missed one or the other. Cavril's deep in negotiations with a customer.

Oh no, an ugly woman got ripped off. Will it be up to us to make it right?


This is a thing with Bioware. Whenever you have to collect money from a merchant, he's inevitably unscrupulous and corrupt, because capitalism is a bad thing and Bioware needs a moral justification for having a ostensibly heroic character performing extortion.

gently caress helping that old bag. We're lookin' out for numero uno here.

This little kitty tries to get sassy with Valerie. Little does he know she's got claws too.

Aveline is a fine example of those inspired by the righteous, morally upstanding nature of the Templars. Kill all cops.

Faced by the prospect of being shanked by an amazonian bulldyke with a hilariously impractical sword handle, Cavril quickly caves in.

Take what's in the chest? Don't mind if I do.

Seriously, you call that a quest? Where was the 30-man trash mob of bodyguards? It's like you're not even trying.

And now I'm in. I'm sure there'll be a lot of roguish smuggling quests in my future!

Valerie returns to tell Gamlen and Mom the good news.

The designers couldn't even implement this design concept, as there is no way to escape from combat in this game. The enemies will literally spawn out of thin air in front of you.



Yes... "fantastic". That's... exactly the word I would use to describe the experience so far.

And thus ends this update.

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

Heavy neutrino posted:

You... you actually resized those screenshots? You're listening to us?

Well this is no fun anymore I'm out.

It was quite a tedious experiment and I'm not particularly happy with the image quality as a result. I feel like a higher resolution is required to convey the subtle nuances of Bioware's masterful facial expressions, so further experimentation with timg tags may be forthcoming and failing that, full resolution screenshots to ensure that this epic tale is told as David Gaider intended.

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

I would never be presumptuous enough to think that I could crop or remove any visual information from the carefully considered camera-placement bioware dictated. Much like a Stanley Kubrick film, every individual frame of this is a masterpiece suitable for framing and display in the louvre.

EDIT: Having discussed this moral quandary with my compatriots Merrill4Lyfe and xXDonnicFan420Xx, I've decided that visual quality is a small price to pay for the sanctity of the precious tables of this forum.

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

Whoa just remembered that when I let Aveline pull a knife on Cavril it gave me +10 approval with her, so basically letting her threaten to stab a guy was enough to completely redeem myself in her eyes after I stabbed her husband in the heart.

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

When we last left off, Valerie was embarking upon her thrilling first year in Kirkwall.

Wow, it's pretty cool how instead of putting the effort into communicating this stuff visually they just lazily slap in a line of exposition on top of a static image.

show, not tell, Gaider.


One year later, we return to Kirkwall to meet...

this anime-haired shifty motherfucker.

He's scoping out the babealicious Hawke sisters as they're trying to hire on to a deep roads expedition.

Valerie, ever the master negotiator, remains blissfully oblivious to how clearly off-putting others find her alcoholism.

In a shocking turn of events, Valerie has apparently met the first dwarf in all of fantasy fiction that isn't a raging alcoholic. (Bioware has masterfully subverted the tropes of fantasy storytelling yet again!) He leaves, clearly unimpressed by our gambit.

Jesus Bethany, could you try to sound a little less like Mom here?

Actually, this entire game is a joke.


Bethany puts on her coolface.

Anyway, Valerie and Bethany are on their way when suddenly-

the newest up-and-comer of the Kirkwall underworld gets pickpocketed by Ginger Vegeta.

Fortunately, before he can get too far, he gets pinned to a wall by a crossbow bolt.

Fired by the most ridiculous fantasy weapon this side of Squall Leonhart's loving gunblade.

While the pickpocket is hypnotized by his attacker's greased Thor's hammer of chesthair, our sexy dwarven bear punches him out and reclaims the coins.

Valerie gasps, shocked by the temporary physical appearance of her money after presuming it was simply a collection of abstract numbers on her inventory screen for so long.

This is Varric, our "loveable" narrator. you can tell he's a sexy dwarven rogue by his exposed chest hair and prominent lack of a beard, evidencing his devil-may-care attitude towards society's rules and expectations. Now ladies, before you get too excited: no, we can't gently caress him. The Bioware forums are literally caremad over this.

Varric introduces himself as the brother of the dickbag dwarf who turned down Valerie moments earlier and says he wants to bring her on board the expedition.

Having known Valerie for all of 15 seconds, Varric knows that this is exactly the business partner he needs.

For only fifty gold you could be spending on better equipment or healing items, you too can risk life and limb in darkspawn filled tunnels. This sounds like a great deal!

For reference, it probably takes about 15-20 hours of gameplay in the first Dragon Age to accumulate this much money. But have no fear, Varric has a plan!

What are we going to do together? Who knows! Judging by the fact that he doesn't actually propose any jobs, it's obvious that Varric sure doesn't!

Coincidentally, that's the same thing I said when installed this game. We can see how that turned out.

And with that, we're off to find work in Kirkwall.


ah varric, you're all heart.

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

Thank you for the kind words SRQ. I am excited about making my first friend on the Something Awful forums.

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

Rangpur posted:

Rising to the top of a fantasy kingdom's criminal underworld does sound like a good game though. Too bad it's evidently not the one we're playing.

It would take too much time away from the thrilling saga of raising 50 gold coins so you can pay a guy to go on a dungeon crawl.

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

Here's a great way to picture the design process for Dragon Age 2. Picture a bunch of obese balding men and women sitting around a table covered in paperback copies of Warhammer: The Konrad Saga, Twilight, The Hunger Games and Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 comics. They're discussing story elements. All of a sudden, a scrawny nerd comes in and goes "guys, I just did the math, and it's seeming like this would take a non-zero amount of time to implement into the game before release". All of a sudden, this guy:

screams I'VE DONE IT! and slaps down a cocktail napkin with "Varric (V.O.): So then Hawke rose to the top of the criminal underworld/mercenary company over the next year." scribbled on it in crayola washable marker.

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

Control Volume posted:

I honestly thought the first Gaider quote in the OP was a joke at first until I started reading some of the dialogue.
There is always a catch! Life is a catch! I suggest you catch it while you can!

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

Well, I think Twilight is far more effective with its romantic elements than most people give it credit for. Granted, it has little else going for it-- but the romance it does well. I find it a fascinating exercise to analyze exactly why that is (which I do for many romances... thankfully Cori is a giant romance movie buff).

- David Gaider
Lead Writer for Dragon Age II

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

When we last left our heroines, Valerie had just agreed to partner with burly dwarven rogue Varric Tethras to raise capital for his deep roads expedition. Let's go give his brother the good news that we are joining his party after all.

In all fairness to Bartrand, if my brother dressed like a dwarven Scott Stapp I'd be suspicious of him too.

"Remember those humans you told to piss off? I realized that they're actually totally hot!"

Because otherwise there'd be no motivation to move this idiot plot forward?

So anyway, Bartrand tells valerie to piss off until she has the coin to fund the expedition, then goes back to his busy schedule of standing stationary and doing nothing. With a work ethic and fundraising skills like this, it's becoming apparent that Bartrand needs all the help he can get.

Anyway, as we're leaving Bartrand's expedition party, we run into a duo that will be familiar to anyone who played DA:O

That's right, it's Bodahn Feddic!

And his mongoloid adopted son Sandal!

Pay close attention here, because this is probably the only time Sandal will say anything other than "enchantment? enchantment!"

valerie figures she might as well see what rare goods bodahn has for sale.

Apparently Bodahn, and by extension all other the shopkeepers in this game, suffer from severe social anxiety disorders, as they refuse to actually open the sales window when you talk to them, only deigning to sell if you directly approach their merchandise. This brilliantly counter-intuitive inversion of the expected gaming formulas established by Dragon Age Origins as well as practically every other RPG of the past several decades is never explained in game, and left for the player to figure out. Also, the finicky nature of DA2's system of designating hotspots means that you will occasionally have to pixel-hunt for the exact camera angle to click on the location that allows you to open the shop.

Disgusted by Bartrand, Bodahn and Bioware's incompetence, Valerie, Bethany and Varric head off in search of some prospective venture capitalists to invest in their hot new deep roads startup. Along the way, they run into an old friend.

God Valerie, you are such a bitch.

Bethany points out that Aveline may have some work for us, so we head off towards the city guard barracks. Along the way, we run into some classic Bioware incidental dialogue.

Haha yeah, owned! By logic! This exchange will soon end up as a rage tapestry upon the popular public bulletin board "reddyte".

So we arrive at the Viscount's keep, home of city guard barracks, and seek out Aveline.

What's up gurrrl? Hard at work or hardly workin'? Heh, little quip for ya...

Oh come on, are you still holding a grudge over that whole "stabbing your husband in the heart" thing?

Valerie Hawke may be a blackout drinker open to a wide variety of sexual fetishes when intoxicated, but she's pretty sure exhibitionism is not one of them.

Yeah, how's that working out for you? Husband still dead?

Blindly ignoring the obvious opening for an , Valerie locks in on what really matters: LODS OF EMONE.

idgaf about Kirkwall, but I just gots ta get paid.

I got psyched to put Valerie's criminal skills to the test and do some robbery with a corrupt cop, but then I realize that Aveline means we have to stop the ambush.

...for a price.

And so we're off!

We arrive at the ambush site, and promptly get an achievement. As far as I can tell, this game gives you a completely meaningless cheevo every time you enter a new area. Not that it matters, because I didn't connect this to my Bioware social account at all anyways.

Aww yeah, it's combat time and you know what that means! *every bandit and raider comes in for a HUGE trash mob*

Thankfully, these encounters are limited to one additional wave spawning in at most, so they're over pretty quickly.

Valerie stumbles across a chest containing a new staff for Bethany. I tried to get a screenshot of the staff, but a bunch of archers spawned out of midair as I pressed F12. Instead we get a great view of the mechanics of Varric's hilarious quad-crossbow with invisible bowstrings.

So after a few more trash mobs and some garbage loot (It's literal garbage. The inventory icon for it is a dented trashcan), we stumble across the ambush.

Valerie and her companions make short work of them.

One quest down, 419 more to go!


Presented without comment.

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

Corridor posted:

Why does every PC and NPC stand posing with their hip thrust out

Darker, sexier, better.

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

Giggily posted:

So, just to make sure, the OP is skipping a lot of content, right? Like important plot dialogue and stuff? This game can't be this badly paced. It's just not possible.

The only stuff I'm skipping is that I'm editing a lot of the conversations for length and saying the absolute bare minimum to advance the plot. I'll question them occasionally if I think they're going to explain an especially gaping plot hole, but for the most part I'm doing every quest and sidequest in the game.

I've already completed act 1 and forgot to screenshot the first half of a couple quests, because I mistakenly assumed they were insignificant and not the start of huge ongoing plotlines, so after that mistake I basically did everything.

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

So we've taken care of the bandits. Let's get back to kirkwall and collect our reward. We head out to the world map.

Sundermount, Sundermount... sounds familiar. Oh yeah. We were supposed to deliver an amulet there a year ago.

Femembering Flemeth's wisdom, Walerie decides to catch life while she can and get rid of this stupid amulet.

We fight some giant spiders and Valerie gets a new helmet. FUN FACT: Hawke is the only character in this game who can equip armor. All other characters are limited to switching weapons, except Varric, who uses his quadbow for the entire game. Bioware's explanation for why they did this? Not enough people cosplayed as DA:O characters.

After a brief walk, the Dalish camp comes into view. This should be over relatively quickly.

Apparently at some point between Origins and Dragon Age 2, all delineation between elven noses and foreheads disappeared. Evolution is a magical thing.

As always, Valerie attempts to defuse the situation through humor.

"Oh yeah, she did mention an unfunny shithead was gonna be stopping by!"

oooh, I'm really scared, Constable Odo.

Please take it and let me get out of here.

I'm starting to suspect that I'm not gonna be able to get out of this camp as quickly as I'd like...

Valerie, eager to get back to Kirkwall and get paid, cuts right to the chase.

Cool, have fun doing that.

Wait, what? No wait a second, this wasn't part of the deal.

Oh great, another idiot to slow me down.

...for the rest of the game.

See, this is the problem with parents today, this permissive attitude just lets the kids walk all over them. "Mommy I want an ice cream, mommy I want an Xbox, mommy I want to make my game darker, sexier, better."

Valerie and her companions make their way towards the hill to the graveyard.

omg. so kawaii.

Merrill could never imagine the number of times Valerie has been goatse'd in the past year.

That's right everyone, you may remember Merrill from the Dalish elf origin of Dragon Age Origins (I don't because elves are homo). Merrill asks if Valerie misses Ferelden.

Not enough brown? Looks like Valerie's a PS3 fan! Heh, lil' gamer humor there. Us gamers, huh? Us gamers...

Aww, you're so naive and innocent, I just want to smash your face in with a brick.

Valerie echoes the thought that runs through my mind every time I boot this game up.

So we haven't gone more than 50 steps from where we met Merrill, when suddenly-

It wouldn't be a graveyard quest without zombies!

After the fight, Hawke is amazed that Merrill was shooting lighting out of her hands.

Really? The long robes and gigantic loving staff didn't give it away?

Joss Whedon is kicking himself that he didn't get into Bioware when the iron was hot and now he's just settled into a slow spiral of TV shows doomed to progressively more hilarious failures.

There's no friendly fire in this game anyway. Oh wait, I mean SQUEEEEEE

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

kalonZombie posted:

Actually the graphics are a step up. Isaac just isn't playing on optimal because this game doesn't really deserve it.

Every single character that returns from DA:O without a massive redesign (Isabela) looks noticeably worse. Also, there's very little to distinguish me running this game on minimum from someone running this game on DirectX 11 with the high texture patch. I'll post some screenshots if I can find them again.

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

yo, so it's not really gonna come across in the screenshots themselves, but check the automap from these 2 different quests:

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

So our band of mischief-makers heads on their merry way, dispatching zombies as they go. Eventually we run into an extremely surly dalish hunter who is pleased to see that we're taking Merrill out of the camp.

I see you, Jakesooly

Valerie is confused in this upside-down world where other people are bitches and she's the friendly one!

Ah yes, the Dalish are well known for their casual mageophobia.

No poo poo, they used to have a nose separate from their browline.

I say the same thing every time I sit down to write one of these posts.

She's waited a loving year, I'm pretty sure a couple more minutes won't hurt either way.




Oh look, a magical barrier. How will we ever get past.

Look at her perky little smile, she's so excited!

Merrill (in-game): (something unbelievably cute)
Mary: Hee hee.
Sheryl: She's so adorable I love her and want to hug her omgIcan'tbelievehowadorablesheisCAN-I-NOM-HER-HEAD?!

Yeah, Valerie was having about the same reaction I was at this point.

Bethany is shockingly unimpressed by Merrill's self-mutilating tendencies.

You guuuuys, what's the big deal? I only summoned a demon with my blood to do my unholy bidding, I don't know what you're so upset about!

What you're failing to realize, Valerie, is that Merrill would be the most adorable monster since the main character of Haiyore! Nyaruko-san

She said, convincing no one.

Oh look, an altar, surrounded by corpses in the middle of a graveyard. I wonder what'll happen when I approach it?

It's not really conveyed through still images, but the Arcane Horror stood completely immobile, not even an idle animation, while Valerie hacked off around a quarter of his life bar.

Okay, lemme get right on that. But before I can get to the altar-

So basically Valerie doesn't open the barrier, never touches the altar, and Merrill does everything? Remind me again why I needed to go on this quest?

What a surprise! To absolutely no one!

Valerie mentally kicks herself for forgetting to check how much she could pawn the amulet for when Varric said he needed 50 sovereigns.

Eager to divert attention from how much money she just missed out on, Valerie changes topics.

The only thing plummeting into the abyss here is Bioware's standards.

Wow, that's pretty deep. It's almost like I've heard something like it before, though...
oh, yeah.

I'm going to regret installing this game.


omg I'm just picturing Merrill stumbling around in the dark with her eyes closed and she's like "uguu~ oniichan, I can't see anything wauuu!" and I just want to glomplenom her!

"You have my thanks (for spending money on this game) and my sympathy (for spending money on this game)."

I'm audi 5000! Peace out, bitches!

Flemeth will never appear again for the rest of the game.

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

Actually there are female qunari in the game, as Felicia Day's elven assassin is a Qunari.

There are, however, no female Kossith.

Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

i don't think there's any female dwarves in the game either. even the one dwarf with a wife is married to an elf.


Shadow Isaac
Nov 15, 2011

by Ralp

Actually the Qunari are the most likeable and sympathetic faction in the game.

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