The reviews and fan feedback for Dragon Age 2 were very much a Marmite affair. The fanbase wasn’t so much split in two as shattered into several hundred fragments, with each feeling that their vocal opinion was the right one.
A large portion of the RPG fanbase felt that Bioware had rushed out Dragon Age 2 to capitalise on the success of Dragon Age: Origins. But in truth, Dragon Age 2 is a game that’s definitely worth taking the time to play.
Dragon Age 2 Combat Overhaul
The biggest change in Dragon Age 2 was the all-new take on combat that saw the game move away from the real-time strategy that Origins was famous for and instead opt for a more action hack ‘n’ slash style. No longer did spells feel weak and dull. With the all-new combat, we had spells that engulfed the screen leaving carnage in its wake. Swords and axes had weight added to them so that every hit felt as though you were actually swinging them yourself. Not to mention, for those who chose not to adjust, the option to switch back to the old style of combat was left in there. Something for everyone surely?
Set over the course of a 10-year period, the story follows the exploits of Hawke, the offspring of an Apostate who fled his hometown after it was overrun by the race of Darkspawn. From here it would have been easy to tape two Darkspawns together and re-tell the story on the first game. That would have been the easy option for sure. But what David Gaider and the team at BioWare did was focus the story around Hawke and their life in Kirkwall as a lowly scrubber on the rise to greatness.
Split into three separate acts, we follow Hawke as they fight their way through the deep roads, fend off a Qunari invasion and aid/condemn oppressed mages. Along the way, we meet several truly magical characters with the best of the bunch being a Dwarf by the name of Varric. Rather than the somewhat predictable characters archetypes in Origins, we have a whole cast of intriguing, captivating, and downright complex characters, which by the end of the game can leave you cheering, or on the floor in a puddle of your own tears. Dragon Age 2 brought characters to life more so than any other game.
Despite its brilliance in most areas, Dragon Age 2 was not without its flaws. The character creator still suffers from “floating beard syndrome”, the new art style will either have you in awe or cringing where you sit. The areas are very samey and to really take in the beauty Kirkwall has to offer you need to be constantly running round with your camera facing upwards to the skies.
I always say, the way of gauging a game’s greatness is does the good outweigh the bad? Are there enough magical moments that you look past the little flaws? Dragon Age 2 was never meant to be Dragon Age: Origins 2 and once you’ve gotten your head around that then you’re left with a deep RPG that rewards the player with a well-written story, stunning visuals and addictive gameplay. Match that with the continued support from BioWare in the form of DLC and you are left with a masterclass in gaming storytelling.
- Mac OS X
- PlayStation 3
- PlayStation 5 via EA Play
- Xbox 360
- Xbox One/Xbox Series S|X Via Backward Compatibility