Review by udoma
"A great game, but Bioware's weakest in years."
First off, let me start out by saying that this game isn't as bad as many people would have you believe. There are some places where the game really shines and, so long as you aren't the type to simply fly through the main quest with no thought of anything else, you will actually get a lot of gameplay out of DA2.
That being said... this game is, in my opinion, the poorest Bioware RPG title that I've ever played.
There's not much to be said here, really. Overall the graphics are quite nice, stylized in such a way that you see them and instantly recognize them as being from Dragon Age. I especially love that they have revised the looks of the Qunari race and the Elven race, distinguishing them from humans and making them unique to the setting.
There are some weak spots... like the black background for party selection, but overall this game looks just fine.
I studied music in college, so I may be a bit picky here, but I was disappointed with the soundtrack. It wasn't bad... most of the time the music did reflect the gist of what was going on, but it didn't have much of the outstanding flavor that the first game's soundtrack had. The music in DA2 is largely forgettable.
The voice acting was superb, and I think I speak for a lot of gamers out there when I say that I would love to see Kate Mulgrew do more voice work for games in the future.
This game is not Origins, and I personally couldn't be happier. The combat has changed to be much more fast paced on console (while the PC version of the same game supposedly has a more tactical combat engine.) Even though auto attack is a thing of the past, combat still retains much of it's complexity, but only on higher difficulty levels (if you play on casual, you could probably finish the game just tapping 'A' the entire time.
The fact that you can't change your companions armor (though you can upgrade their belt, neck, and rings) is frustrating at first, but it's nice that they can retain unique looks throughout the game (and it helps that you can upgrade their armor, even if you can't replace it.
The boss battles are fantastic - a strength from the previous entry in the series - but the game has too few boss battles and too many of the same 'you got attacked by mercenaries' encounters. To make matters worse, the environments are many times blatantly reused, making the game environment feel much smaller.
This is what gets me. Bioware games are known for their amazing stories, and this game just fails to step up. The main plot is divided into 3 acts, and though they may have some loose connection, they are basically 3 different stories with no clear antagonist or goal. The way the story is told was unique, certainly, but the ending itself finds you staring blankly at the screen as the credits roll silently by (and yes, they do roll by silently. No end credit music of any kind.) thinking to yourself 'is that it?'. It definitely sets up some major plots for the next game, but overall the entire game feels like one giant prologue.
The saving grace in the story department is the companion characters. Their stories are much more interesting than the 'main' story, and thankfully they are what you'll spend far more time with. My only issue here is that there aren't enough companion characters to begin with , especially depending on what path you've chosen with your main character.
In two months, will this be considered a great game? Absolutely. I expect some amazing DLC to bring me back especially. A flawed game, but ultimately a good one.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 03/10/11
Game Release: Dragon Age II (Signature Edition) (US, 03/08/11)
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