Dragon Age II
The world has been consumed by the fires of war.
From the get-go, the player has a general gist of what has happened to all of Thedas: The world is swept into conflict, and the one person responsible for bringing all of that chaos to a head is you: Taking the role of the Champion of Kirkwall, an individual by the name of Hawke. Now, the narrative in comparison to Dragon Age: Origins did indeed feel rather linear. Of course, despite the inevitable fate of the entire world, there was a vast degree of flexibility in your actions as the Champion in terms of your relationships with your companions and other fundamental characters that ultimately affect the entire Dragon Age universe. Before I go into too much detail about that, however, I would like to give my evaluations on the more superficial aspects of the game: Graphics, sound, gameplay and so on. Now, I was very enthusiastic about the artistic recreations of the races and characters in Dragon Age II; The Elves had more prominent facial features, and their ears made it more apparent of their race in comparison to the first Dragon Age. The Qunari, mainly secondary antagonists and an eventual neutral faction, have turned from being tall, husky tanned figures with white corn rows into towering grey men with horns. Humans and Dwarves have generally remained the same, but you couldn't really get more obvious than having a party member standing 3-4 feet shorter than you and not call him a Dwarf. The redesign does look a little bit like clay, but that's usually a result of the developers using a new engine without testing its limits; The same case applied to Ubisoft when they were developing Assassin's Creed III. Despite that, the characters are animated much more smoothly than they ever were in Origins so it's up to you to determine whether or not you're ready to embrace such a drastic change. The same composer from Origins returns for Dragon Age II and still invokes as much of an impact in the soundtrack as he did in Origins, so expect to hear just as driving music in your journeys around Kirkwall. The gameplay generally remains the same, but a bit more refined in terms of character development. Skills in Origins didn't branch out as much as they do in DAII and it transcends the usual role development for most of the companions you gain during your travels. This is fundamental because of the plot regarding the escalating conflict between mages and civilians and certain characters are more of an asset to you than others depending on how you develop them. After all, you can't expect a dual-wielding rogue to last long doing obscene amounts of damage if they can't keep themselves out of the eyes of your targets. In short, DAII requires a bit more of a tactical approach than one might think - or what most had thought originally. Now, getting back to the first point about the developing story: The eventual breakthrough of the war between the Mages and Templars (A military faction that formerly served under the religious institution of the Chantry) is only one of many problems that will consume all of Thedas in Dragon Age III. Hawke's family has been eagerly searching for a way to reclaim the nobility they lost because of the recklessness of a relative and along the way many complications arise. An age-old conflict between the Humans and the Qunari begins to resurface - one which can be referenced in the in-game lore - and depending on your actions as Hawke, they can be either appeased sufficiently or they can become vengeful and lusting for blood. The way the player goes about progressing through the story in DAII has become very much like Mass Effect which...was rather awkward at first since I wasn't all too familiar with it until I bought Mass Effect 2 earlier that year. Though I didn't have as much control over my dialogue as much as I wanted, the emotion icons that would appear next to each option would almost accurately convey the kind of sentiment I wanted to the situation. It'll be kind of a hit and miss the first time you play through, but you'll pick up on it soon enough. The lack of a dialogue tree also proved to be problematic because the character relationships between your companions is too black-and-white; There's virtually no middle ground and no way to make compromises between most of them. It was irritating at first because, in most of my other playthroughs in games like this, I wanted to be able to save everyone. However, after realizing how dire the situation in Thedas will eventually become: I would be forced to make a choice. This was a similar situation people found themselves in when they finally finished Mass Effect 3, but like ME3: Hawke stands on the precipice of beginning a war that will consume the world in its unrelenting flame. There is a key moment in your journey as Hawke when you encounter Flemeth, a sort of anti-hero from Dragon Age: Origins. Her parting words to Hawke are as follows: "We stand upon the precipice of change. The world fears the inevitable plummet into the abyss. Watch for that moment, and when it comes: Do not hesitate to leap. It is only when you fall that you learn whether you can fly." I didn't pay it much mind when I heard it at first, but realizing the events that Hawke would eventually become a part of: It became clear that the events that will come in Dragon Age III later this year will be absolutely monumental and, quite literally, earth-shattering. Chief complaints about Dragon Age II were it's linearity and it's dumbed down combat system, and that bandwagon of hate against BioWare has been raging into its third year. It wasn't until now that I could be completely impartial in my evaluation of Dragon Age II and though I've discovered shortcomings I sometimes wish I'd never found: I at least discovered what really makes Dragon Age II so great, and for that I'll never look back. May the Warden and Hawke find their way into Dragon Age III where we can quell the fires of war together.
I really enjoyed this game. I've probably played this game the most of all of my games, due to the fact of it's story and honest care about the characters. One of my favorite games ever. Great pick.
Worth the buy!
I have to admit that I was not a huge fan of the first Dragon age game, but this one I fell in love with. The storyline was amazing and kept my attention the whole time. That is the main difference (in my opinion) between the first and second game; in dao my attention was lost and it became a drag to play, but in da2 I became addicted from start to finish. The fighing is smooth and their are plenty of quests to keep you busy forever. The characters are so complex, and the whole game you never know what to expect. I have to say I was rather impressed with this game and would recomend it to anyone. For $20 why not?