Review Dragon Age II – The pinnacle of modern video game story telling.

During the 50+ hours of game play you will fight your way from refugee to champion. You can find romance in all the right and wrong places. And after given a decade, you will change the face of the world forever. No pressure right?

Let me tell my tale…

You know that massive, diverse, and rich world that Bioware created for Dragon Age: Origins but only used a small portion of? Well Dragon Age II uses every bit of the lore their writers have created and it is glorious. I’ll admit I was a bit concerned about using a framed narrative for a RPG since framed narratives tend to separate the audience from the main character, but my fears were quickly put to ease. You’ll be playing Hawke as he/she escapes the sacking of Lothering during the Blight. I’d say more but it would all be a spoiler. What? It’s a Bioware game what did you expect. Ok fine, you’ll end up in Kirkwall and learn of the trouble between the Mages and the Templars. But that’s all I’m going to say.

The companions, with exception of one, are absolutely phenomenal this time. My personal favorite was Anders mainly because of seeing his story continued from Awakening. The only one I had problems with was Hawke’s sibling witch depends on what class the player character is. I felt that they missed a huge opportunity because they put less effort into them so Hawke always had a supporter. They could have had two characters that were great foils of each other, but alas Bioware did not consult me on the matter.

Bigger than a breadbox but smaller than Ferelden

As a game Dragon Age II is a smaller world than Origins but there is a much greater evolution of the world you’re in. This is the first game I have played where my actions truly felt like they had impact. You really have to be careful about who you piss off in this game. Sure you may be a bad ass, but your mother isn’t as able to defend herself. Bad people get cheater by their lying partners and good people don’t always save the innocent.

All I want is to shoot lightning at fools.

One welcomed change between Origins is the combat system. While the combat in Origins was challenging, it often interrupted the game’s pace. In Dragon Age II the combat is fast and brutal. The cool down system returns but is much more balanced around the fights. Success in battle is no longer based upon how many potions you have or how many mages are in your party . You’ll have to form strategy and determine a order in which to dispatch your opponents. The fans of old school RPG will probably bitch about the upgrade and say how they “wish it was more like Baldur’s Gate.” But people really should move on from the past and stop judging a game because of how they wanted it to be.

Warriors are still juggernauts that have trouble disposing with ranged units. They do have a charge ability now that helps but a high level mage will still cause problems. Rogues are much more strategically based this time. You’ll need to pay attention about how your abilities interact with each other. Plus archery is actually fun and involves more than just auto-attack. While mages are less “contra code” than they were in Origins, they are still pretty over powered if played right.

The talent trees are deep and focus on you committing towards a certain one this time around. For example, you will need to commit in fire as a mage to get the strongest spells. I felt much more like nature mage this time rather than just a mage that was high enough level to know every spell and specialization. That being said if you wish to be a jack of all trades yet master of none, it is completely possible and won’t hinder your playing.

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Graphics still are not on par with most modern games but are leaps and bounds better than those of Origins. Don’t get me wrong the game looks as good as Modern Warfare. Spells look much better and the armor has greater detail.

Verdict

Dragon Age II is the pinnacle of modern video game story telling. The combat has all of that Origins charm with none of frequent pausing. The companions are all great and feel real. But the biggest praise I can give this game is its ability to make your actions truly feel as if they have weight. That why I’m giving Dragon Age II 5 “dwarves with excessive chest hair” out of 5.

Pros: Fluent yet challenging combat, rich and dynamic world, great characters and voice acting, choices have weight, the finest video game story telling to be had.

Cons: Stuck in Kirkwall, Graphic still not quite there but are damn close. Old school RPG fans will bitch about the combat upgrade.

Score 5/5


Post by Ninth Batter the author/creator of Nobody Like You.

 

Any opinions expressed in posts on Polygamerous are not necessarily the opinions of Polygamerous or the other Authors/Editors/Podcasters of Polygamerous.

About NinthBatter

NinthBatter(or Jack) was born in 1518 on the shores of Loch Shiel in the highlands of Scotland. Seriously though, Ninth is a small town geek born and raised although he does live in Los Angeles now. He’s been gaming since the SNES with “Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past.” He currently games on PC, Xbox, PS3, Nintendo DS, and the N-Gage(it’s a GameBoy and a phone!) He also has a Wii but currently uses it as a door stop. If you haven’t been able to figure it out, Ninth prefers to take a light-hearted and humorous approach to gaming. He also loves Pokemon…the handheld games…seriously.