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Dragon Age 2 – Full Review

With new writers, art direction and gameplay Dragon Age II, the sequel to 2009’s highly acclaimed Dragon Age: Origins, is almost a completely different game so much so that it might be unfair in comparison if it doesn’t stack up to the original.

Story

The Good: Frame narrated by the blinged dwarf Varric you are now along for the ride as you experience Hawkes rise as the incidental “Champion of Kirkwall”. The story is made of grey morality meaning no one is good or bad it’s all up to your values.

Neutral: A number of revisions to the cultures of the elves and Qunari have also been made

The Bad: The quest and story progression is setup to feel that your decisions and life just incidentally lead up to the climaxes of the story but doing so removes a sense direction and making you uncaring about most of it.

Maps and Locations

The Good: Kirkwall is a decently thought out city.

The Bad: The whole game takes place in around the city of Kirkwall and the total amount of maps can be counted on my hands. For a minimum of 10 times you visit the same cave, the same ruin, the same mine, the same warehouse and the same mansion for pretty much the whole 7 years of the story granted there’s minor differences at times a locked door here a trap there , but the mini-map doesn’t even reflect the changes giving more evidence to wool being pulled over your eyes real loosely.

-Kirkwall

The Good: Nicely designed they put a lot of thought into expressing the slave history of Kirkwall into it’s look and feel.

The Bad: For a large overpopulated city there aren’t a lot people it almost feels like a ghost town.

-The Black Emporium(DLC)

A store owned by the mysterious Xenon. It contains various magical objects, items, armor and potions that he is willing to sell from his collection.

The Good: It’s the most delightful thing in the entire game. Dark, witty and just plain amazing.

The Bad: Downloadable Content only available to those who purchased an original copy.

Dialogue(360 and PS3 only)

The Good: Much of the game has undergone the same changes as Bioware’s other AAA title Mass Effect giving the players the delight of having fully voiced dialogue, being referenced by name, and creating a deeper immersion with it’s cinematic feel.

The Bad: Missing reading all the text or is it just me?

-Dialogue Choice

The Good: The Mass Effect dialogue wheel was also brought over. Bringing alignment icons which not only gives you an idea of what sort of reaction each decision will get from the NPC but streamlining the process.

The Bad: The dialogue wheel only gives you a paraphrase of what’s going to be said. So sometimes you may come off a little schizophrenic.

Combat Mechanics

The Good: Overall speed has been sped up by almost 100% making combat animation  fast and pretty, any faster and this would be a hack and slash.

The Bad: Mages.. once the mightiest class has now become the most useless. Aiming/Selection feels so broken I almost threw the controller a few times and I’m not prone to violent outbursts.

-Skill Tree

The Good: It’s actually a tree now not just a row of spells/talents. All your companions have there own personal skill tree making them truly individuals.

The Bad: Spells have been removed and others rebuilt from scratch. There really is no decent healer for your group unless your main character is a mage. Even the token companion healer is useless.

-AI

The Good: Thankfully they don’t just stand there for the majority of the time but nothing remotely wonderful.

The Bad: Due to game design the attribute of strength controls your chance of being knocked back and if you’re a mage or rogue that is correctly built you have not spent points in that stat which means if a sufficiently strong enough enemy decides to attack you like say a Dragon you will be caught in a knock back attack loop till you die. Your companions are not much help at all in this situation when they, for no obvious reason, have given up and ignore the waves of ninjas falling from the sky as you get pummelled by a normal NPC that has Boss Rank amounts of health.

Enemies

The Good: The Qunari look awesome

The Bad: They’re not that many units in the game, coupled with the recycled locale and tactics it gets pretty boring to kill the same rogue or mage for the 20th time fueling that annoyance even more.

Crafting

The Good:You no longer need to bother with it since NPCs now do all the work in the form of a store front you just need to bring them the recipe and tell them where to find the ingredients.

The Bad: You still need to bother with finding recipes. Organizing Runes is non-existent making just searching for the one you want crafted a pain. They are also now permanent. So that awesome 33% Speed Increase you just found and attached to your dagger is stuck there and can’t be applied to the epic purple ones you just found.

Graphics

The Good: Featuring a more refined realistic fantasy art style the races now are truly separate not just in lore but appearance. A major step up from Dragon Age: Origins

The Bad: With no Ansiotropic filtering minimum Anti-Aliasing and low quality textures on even the lowest of settings the 360 version doesn’t even hold a candle to in comparison to its PC counterpart really showing the 360’s age.

Overall

Dragon Age: Origins had a development cycle of five years, Dragon Age 2 a development cycle of one it’s very apparent it’s unfinished and if you paid the full price the feeling of being ripped off is unavoidable. But despite all its shortcomings and glitches it’s still decent I recommend waiting for it to go on sale or do whatever else you have to not support a game rushed out by its publisher.

Visit the official Dragon Age 2 website at – dragonage.bioware.com/da2/home/

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One Response to "Dragon Age 2 – Full Review"

  1. CS says:

    In regards to the writing its my first review so don’t burn me at the stake. Actually I take that back; be harsh and judgmental or even a troll. I’ll take all that criticism and work it into my next review.

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