Top 5 Things Skyrim Should Learn From Dragon Age II (and Vice Versa)

Venture Beat's Rob LeFebvre has put together an editorial titled "Top 5 things Skyrim should learn from Dragon Age II (and vice versa), and given the title there's really no need to explain the content. I can see myself agreeing with some of the points listed, although I can't help but think that the article doesn't really take into account the two games' different scopes and the design niches they are intended to fill:
While I like them both, I would really like one giant mashed-up uber-game, if you will. Sky Age, perhaps. Or Dragon Rim. No, scratch that last one. Ew, just ew. Hell, let's just begin with a look at what Skyrim really should improve upon, using Dragon Age II's example.


Better combat animation

Look, I like Skyrim's combat a lot better than Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion's, but no one is using the word (visceral) to describe the battle system here. Fighting still feels like controlling a marionette with rigid strings, and even the dragon skirmishes are more about toddling around in circles until they land and then shouting at them to death.

Frequent weapon changes are encouraged, but the lag between choosing a new weapon and actually getting to use one is, well, laggy. I can't count the number of times I switched to the Axe of Whiterun only to be stabbed to death by a dead Nord in the time it took to do so.

Dragon Age II, while more of a button-mashing fun-fest, is responsive and quick when choosing tactics, selecting spells, or even switching weapon sets.

More variety to colors/environments

Oh man, Skyrim designers, I get it. Skyrim is a cold, brown, and gray place. Even the underground is brown and gray. And cold. The monsters there are brown. And gray. The dragons, for the most part, are a variety of grayish-brown.

Please, Skyrim, can I have some color? Just a little? The northern lights at night are pretty, but they are not enough to counteract all the.wait for it.brown.

And repetition? It's like they got the same guy with the bad Nordic accent to design all the inns. Every. Single. Inn. Has the Exact. Same. Layout. And some minor variation of an annoying bard whom I continue to want to shoot in the head.

Dragon Age II, with all its maze-y back channels and Deep Roads and such, at least has some variety in color and in environment.

Not everything's perfect in the world of Dragon Age, though. What can DA2 learn from Skyrim?


Allow for unscripted encounters

There's got to be a way to bring in Skyrim's powerful (and sometimes hilarious) dynamically generated goodness into a heavily scripted game like Dragon Age II, right?

After playing Dragon Age II for a while, I start to long for interactions with characters that will complain about their knee injuries or their brother in the army without having to slam through a dialogue tree to do so. Even the (random) fights in the bad parts of town feel fairly planned and obligatory.

I sure would like to skip some of the dialogue as well, especially the fourth or fifth time around. In one egregious example, no matter what I choose to say to that jerk of a Templar, he still cuts the throat of the Qunari and then has his followers try and kill us all. Sure would be fun to try and flatter him a bit and get out without having to fight the whole flock, right?