Review by YoYoLeFtToRiTe

Reviewed: 03/30/11

Dragon Age returns to us with vast improvements as well as... expected technical flaws.

Gaming is a very expensive hobby. It always has been, it always will be. The last thing you want to worry about when making a 60$ or more purchase is taking the game home all for it to freeze, stall in terms of frame rate, or experience long (well longer) loading screens. Needless to say, this game does just that all too frequently; and yet, it still manages to remain a good installment to an otherwise epic RPG series. This game is a sheer example of when the good outweighs the bad. That's not to say however that there are any excuses as to why this game should run the way it sometimes does. Dragon Age II is not by any means a mixed bag, and Bioware definitely improved this installment in areas where the previous game needed it most. However, Bioware once again lacks the necessary improvements to fix those pesky technical issues and bugs that haunt many games on the market.

Presentation: While the story isn't as strong as the original game, it still is very good. The characters in my opinion are very entertaining to interact with. Although the world you visit is fairly limited this time around. 8/10

Graphics: The graphics do seem better and that is a plus. The characters look for the most part pretty good as well as the environments. The armor designs however, don't hold a candle to something you would see in Mass Effect or some of the other heavy hitters out there. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that some of them look like they were hand-drawn. Also while the environments look good, they are re-used. You will be revisiting the same areas over, and over again. Even the dungeons hold a striking resemblance to prior dungeons completed in previous quests. Also, the frame rate can sometimes struggle. I've witnessed a fairly good sum of freezing, slow down, and hiccups. There is nothing I hate more then to be in an important battle when......sorry, your game has frozen. It's frustrating, and it takes away from the experience. It may not happen as frequently to some players as it does others, but in the end there is no excuse for any of it. 7/10

Sound: One of the game's stronger points. This game has an excellent soundtrack as well as very talented voice actors. The characters all seem to have their own tones and they suit them very well. 9/10

Gameplay: To avoid confusion I will be talking about gameplay only (as if there were no bugs, or other techincal issues). With that being said, this game is a BLAST from beginning to end. It is very deep, and engrossing. There are many different character classes to choose from; as well as weapons, armor, accessories and items. I will also mention that each of your party members react differently to certain decisions that you make throughout the game. Some may agree with you, some may not. You can have very good relationships with them, or be straight up rivals. You could also have intimate relationships with some of them which is very entertaining. I encourage you to listen to each of them and find out what makes them tick. Experiment with them to see their true potentials in battle. Whether they like you or not, they have their advantages. By the way, it is impossible to see everything this game has to offer in one playthrough. This game begs to be played again and again to see what you may have missed out on in your previous playthrough. On a final note, I will add that this game is for newcomers and hardcore fans alike. This your first real RPG experience? Cool, set the difficulty on casual to help you get more of a grasp on things before you delve deeper. Are you an RPG veteran that likes a good challenge? You're covered. Set the difficulty to hard for a more engrossing experience. Either way, no penalties are given to you regardless of difficulty. So go for the gold.... and silver. 9/10

Conclusion: If you can look past some of the technical difficulties this game gives off from time to time, you will be left with an engaging, tremendous RPG. As I stated before, some may find that the story isn't as strong as the original; but it is still a good one. The characters are heartwarming, the gameplay is deep, and the overall experience is a blast. I can only give this game an 8/10 due to it's issues. But like I said, this is a good example of the good outweighing the bad. If you love RPG's, or are looking for a new one, this game is for you.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

Product Release: Dragon Age II (US, 03/08/11)

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