Dragon Age 2 review (Xbox 360)

Valenka | 1186d ago | User review
Reviewing: Dragon Age 2
A Sequel That Surpasses the Original
Dragon Age: Origins was unleashed on the world three years ago and received significant praise from many major video game and media outlets upon its release. Two years following, BioWare released its sequel, Dragon Age 2, that was shown to have some significant improvements from its predecessor, the most important being the inclusion of a voice for the protagonist. However, having given the main character a voice, we're restricted to the Human race. While Dragon Age 2 was originally believed to have been a continuation of Origins, the player finds themselves introduced to Hawke (Garrett or Marian, default names for the male and female, respectively), a character of nobility and honour, who's fleeing Lothering from the darkspawn of the Fifth Blight. Naturally, as this is the same setting and time period as Origins, one can assume Hawke's adventures are occurring parallel to that of the Warden's (protagonist from Origins). It's also learned that Hawke's mother, Leandra, is related to the Magi Warden of the Origins game, should you import such a save from the previous game. Hawke, who arrives in the city of Kirkwall as a lowly refugee, soon becomes its legendary champion over a turbulent decade of political and social conflict.

Gameplay in Dragon Age 2 is quite similar, but rather different than its predecessor. It's still a hack and slash role-playing game, but there's more involvement of the player during combat--instead of just pressing a button or two to issue commands, you're actually required to button-mash, so to speak. During the introductory customization menu, the player decides the given name, gender, appearance and combat specialty of Hawke. Hawke can be either a warrior (who wields sword, axe, mace and shield), a rogue (who wields daggers or a bow and arrow) or a mage (who wields a magical staff and uses magic).

As with Origins, the player is not only in control of Hawke. From the very start of the game, you're given access to several companions who accompany Hawke in and out of battle. You may choose up to three companions to bring along, while the rest remain in reserve. Hawke's companion characters are Bethany, his/her sister, Carver, his/her brother, Aveline, Varric, Fenris, Merrill, Isabela, and Anders. The Exiled Prince expansion pack adds an interesting character named Sebastian. These characters have their own dedicated background and plot.

As seen in Origins, after a battle, the player may loot the enemy for money and equipment. Battle also yields experience which can be used to unlock new combat abilities for each character. Outside battle, the player gets to control Hawke's interactions. When a dialog occurs, the player gets to choose what Hawke asks or answers.

As seen in Origins, after a battle, you may loot your enemies for money and equipment. Combat also gives experience which can be used to unlock combat abilities and specialities for each character. Outside battle, the player gets to once again, control the main character's interactions. However, instead of choosing from a select choice of dialogue as in Origins, the player now chooses Hawke's response from personality icons, and depending on your situation, you'll see quite a different number of them, such as:

⇢ Diplomatic/Helpful: Light Green Highlight/Light Blue Highlight (Olive Branch/Angel Wings with Halo)
⇢ Humorous/Charming: Purple Highlight (Comedy Mask/Diamond)
⇢ Aggressive/Direct: Red Highlight (Fist/Hammer)

There's also a few special options, similar to the Paragon/Renegade checks in Mass Effect. Such as...

⇢ Combat (Crossed Swords) which initiates combat and ends any further dialogue--a good way to shut someone up.
⇢ Call on Companion (Glowing Head Silhouette) which calls on a specific companion to chime in and help resolve the issue in a, usually, non-violent or profitable solution.
⇢ Flirt (Glowing Yellow Heart) engage with a companion in an amorous or suggestive manner. Flirting is the only way to instigate a potential romance.
⇢ End Romance (Glowing Red Broken Heart) Used to reject a romantic proposition from a companion or end an existing romance.

...and many more.

Saved information can be imported from Dragon Age: Origins as well as the expansion, Dragon Age: Awakening. This data will affect the background story of Dragon Age II.

Overall, Dragon Age 2 is a brilliant sequel to an amazing predecessor, and I'm much looking forward to Dragon Age 3.
Brilliant, improved gameplay
Graphics are beautifully done
Fascinating, gripping story
Minimal action while the story unfolds
Fun factor
Overall (out of 10 / not an average)
coolbeans  +   1185d ago
Interesting to see you on the praising side of DAII. I've heard many choices Bioware made are quite divisive with the community at large.

For some reason I still can't encourage myself to get into the Dragon Age or Fable series. Either it's something in the previews or the general artstyle itself that feels terribly shopworn by its competitors.

Nice -> formatting, btw.
#1 (Edited 1185d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(3) | Report | Reply
Valenka  +   1185d ago
Yes, I've heard numerous things about Dragon Age before I decided to get into the series--luckily for me, I'm not easily influenced (not saying that you are, lol) by the opinions of others, I tend to just take it with a grain of salt. Something told me I'd enjoy the series, and sure enough, I do.

I can't blame you for not being able to get into either series--both have gameplay elements that don't really whet the appetite of some gamers, and that's understandable.

I thought the formatting would add a little oomph to the review and show some organisation on my part. :)
blainio09  +   1185d ago
The rating is a bit high dont see dat often for this game but very well written
gorebago  +   1183d ago
the review was loaded with cliches. so no, its not well-written
cpayne93  +   1185d ago
Good review, I've been getting into action rpgs lately, gonna get dark souls and oblivion next, so the Dragon Age games are also on my list.
Blastoise  +   1184d ago
Get on Demon's souls first before you play Dark souls. I always thought demons souls was a much better game but even if you disagree its a great way to prepare yourself for the unforgiving and cruel game that is dark souls :P
cpayne93  +   1183d ago
Ha ha I just finished getting my platinum on Demon's Souls. It was the first game I've ever platinumed, and it might be the last. It was really the only game that was ever good enough to motivate me to try to just do everything I could in the game. That game stands as my 2nd favorite game of all time, I honestly hadn't enjoyed a game as much as that one since I was a little kid. It was a combination of the difficulty and the incredible gameplay that really did it, truly an incredible game.

I've heard some people say they perfer Dark Souls, and others say they perfer Demon's Souls, but there is no doubt in my mind that Dark Souls is also a fantastic game.
Trenta27  +   1184d ago
The game was okay. The dialogue was some of the best I have ever heard, but the rest of the game was okay. The story was weak and the combat was lacking.
Crystallish  +   1184d ago
i for one also liked the hell out of this game. the Scope and the Dungeonrecycling are a bad thing, and something that should be mentioned, but yeah - i agree with the fact that DA2 is a very good title.
bwazy  +   1184d ago
I bought the game for 5 dollars. I wanted a refund 7 hours later.
maelstromb  +   1184d ago
I absolutely LOVED Origins! And then Awakening dropped and proved to be a significant improvement and worthy addition to the series. All in all, I probably logged around 85+ hrs playing through both storylines. Sadly though, I never did actually play DA2 despite having bought the Signature Ed. It just sat on my floor while I was enamored with several other games at the time, and eventually I sold it after reading horrible review after horrible review. And the majority of those were unfortunately from people who, just like me, had nothing but praise for the first game and its expansion. So I thought, there's waaaay too many games in my backlog...so I'll just move along.

Although to be fair, I don't know if I can completely believe ALL of the harsh criticism surrounding DA2. Critic's opinions SHOULD, like Valenka said, be taken with a grain of salt. However, it really does become more and more difficult to ignore when the majority of negative opinions begin to pile up and cast a large ominous shadow over us townsfolk - the consumers/gamers that plan on purchasing said game. And in the case with DA2, that is exactly what happened for me.

But still...perhaps one day I'll give it a go. Perhaps not.
#7 (Edited 1184d ago ) | Agree(5) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
bwazy  +   1183d ago
If I could detach my copy from Origin and give it to you I would.

But alas.
maelstromb  +   1183d ago
The thought is what counts! And I do appreciate your saying so, from one gamer to another. :)
MacDonagh  +   1183d ago
I liked some things about DA2 but it felt like fairly rushed to the point where they kept recycling environments and enemies. There was certainly some things in the story which is applicable to real life and has a far more human focus. The characterization of the Arishock for instance was an interesting view on religions fundamentalism, how frightening it can be and how it could even be an attractive proposition to some people one way or the other. There are many things that I didn't like about DA2 but it was my game of the year last year; purely because it attempted something completely different from the "Save the world" scenario that has been repeated ad nauseum. The end of act 3 was a very big minus point but I did enjoy it for what it was.
#8 (Edited 1183d ago ) | Agree(2) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
sjaakiejj  +   1182d ago
Just bought Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2. The first takes an insane amount of hard drive space, so I've been spending my day making space and removing things I didn't need anymore. Looking forward to get started.

Good to see Dragon Age 2 in a positive light for once. I always hear fans complaining about it, and tell everyone how EA supposedly ruined the franchise.

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Dragon Age 2

Average Score 7.8 Reviews(230)