Bioware announced the sequel to Dragon Age: Origins, their viral video game, on March 8, 2011. The trailers were stunning, and the anticipation was high. Many people were excited, as were I. Here are my thoughts about the game. This article will contain spoilers. In every headline that contains plot information, I will put (SPOILER). This includes trailers, interviews, and detailed trailers. This headline will end the spoiler alert.
(SPOILER ALERT) The plot
It is more difficult to see the plot than in the first game. Your goal was evident right from the beginning – to save Ferelden from Blight. You are now a refugee fleeing Ostagar’s chaos with your family. You meet a few people on the way and soon make your way to Kirkwall. Here is the heart of the action. While you may have guessed a part of the plot, I won’t go into detail. It will take you a while to understand the end result. This may be preferred by some, while others may not.
(SPOILER ALERT) Gameplay
Dragon Age 2 offers a more compact map of Ferelden than Dragon Age Origins, which had many locations scattered across the map. The action is concentrated in Kirkwall and around the nearby mountain Sundermount. Instead of being in one location, the party members can be found scattered throughout town in their own homes, suites, and locations. However, it was more time-consuming to speak to everyone; this added realness allowed for more excellent communication.
They are Warrior and Rogue, respectively. They have seen improvements and are now much more fun to play. In the past, I found mage and rogue to be quite dull.
This game is also prone to a lot of boredom. Many of the environments, like mines and caves, are similar. Sometimes they are even identical. Additionally, the exact locations can be used for multiple quests. It is a strange feeling to be able to dispatch multiple groups of evil-doers from one hideout. It makes one wonder what the law allows for this!
Graphics were the only thing that was lacking in the original game. It was just not visually appealing. There are not many improvements to this aspect of the game. Everything looks better. The textures are more detailed, and the scenery is more vivid. In terms of graphics, the game has an unmistakable resemblance to Bioware’s Mass Effect games. This was a nice improvement on Dragon Age: Origins.
Dragon Age 2 features an entirely new combat experience. The characters can now actually do things, as opposed to the first game, where they made the same monotonous motions over and again. The characters now leap around, the rogues strike, backflip and strike out of danger, and even the mages have some really cool moves. Overall, combat experience has been my favorite improvement.
There is some hustle in Kirkwall, but not much. A few NPCs wander around, exchanging short chats with each other or sharing anecdotes. You can’t talk to many of them. You can only talk to people who are interested in a quest. I find this frustrating. There were many people standing around, without any way to interact. It made the city feel dead, even though there was an NPC buzz every once in a while. It was common to run into a group of thugs walking down the streets at night, only for them to turn around and stare into space. It was unrealistic and hollow.
Similar to Dragon Age: Origins, there is plenty of banter and laughter among the party members. Some quite naughty!
(SPOILER) Party members
Varric: Varric is a dwarf merchant who loathes the Deep Roads and enjoys drinking at the local tavern ‘The Hanged Man. He was a replacement for Oghren, the Dragon Age’s first game. Varric is a charming character and brings humor to the game.
Aveline: Aveline, a redheaded warrior, and member of the Kirkwall Guard, are capable. Isabela calls Aveline a Manish do-gooder. Aveline is generally a supporter of law and rights.
Isabela: This is the naughty pirate queen that made a brief appearance on Dragon Age: Origins. She is one of the main characters in this game. She is an extremely capable rogue and is always ready for a fight. She is quick-witted, which makes her a great comedian. She and Aveline are on opposite ends of the spectrum, so she can argue quite a lot.
Merrill: Merrill is an endearing, confused, and socially awkward Elf mage. She also has her dark secrets. She is a blood magician who can create quite a stir.
Anders: A human mage that played an essential role in Dragon Age Origins’ Awakening expansion. He is a combination of a spirit and justice and loathes templars. He has some solutions that, let’s just say, are “radical.”
Fenris is an Elf warrior who can wield a greatsword and is scarred by Lyrium infusion. As his past had him as a slave to Tevinter magisters, he loathes slavers and mages.
Bethany/Carver: Depending on the class, only one of these will be used. You get Bethany if you choose warrior or the rogue. If you choose mage, Carver is available – with a thorn in its side towards his mage sibling (you).
A few characters from the original game are briefly featured, including Flemeth, Leliana, and Alistair.
The combat is excellent, the characters are fascinating, the graphics for an RPG are excellent, and the RPG elements work well. They won’t satisfy the needs of RPG-fanatics, but they are sufficient for most people. It loses points because of its lack of interaction and ambient chatter, as well as its repetitiveness.
It gets 7/10. Although it’s a great game, I do not deny that the repetitive nature makes it challenging to replay, which is a problem for an RPG.