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Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 2288 Ratings

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  1. Jul 10, 2011
    I'll start by saying Origins was an absolute gem of hardcore tactical RPG design. Dragon Age 2 however, is a different gem. It's combat is far quicker and fluid while still having a healthy dose of strategy. Naysayers will have you believe this is a betrayal of what Dragon Age is, but its just a different style of game. If your one of the people who didn't click with Origins, this new title is almost certain to appeal to you.

    The fluidity of the combat translates well to the pacey storyline and easily likable characters. The main acts of the story are rather short but the memorable side quests and companion quests will keep your playthrough above 40 hours at least. Your cohorts themselves are very distinguished in personality and appearance as well. Out of the entire party, Varric stands as one my most beloved in the franchise so far. The static approval system has been replaced by a much more dynamic friendship/rivalry system. Gaining an ally's complete loyalty is very rewarding as it opens up new facets of their personality as well as granting a decent stat boost. Hawke's 10 year rise from refugee to champion is an emotional tale, full of suspense and political intrigue. The climax had my head spinning with anticipation for Dragon Age 3. The character Hawke is very well acted as well. Nicholos Boulton and Jo Wyatt put very emotive performances behind whichever personality you decide to give your Hawke. By the final act, you will have laughed, felt deep heartache, given immense power and political sway the city of Kirkwall, and decided the outcome of many morally straining events.

    Inventory management has seen a face lift. While you can buy upgrades for your companions armor and attack power and equip accessories, their clothing remains untouchable. Some of their outfits do change and evolve throughout the 10 years of the story however, while some will only change unless your in a romance with them. The only outfit you have complete control over is the player characters. Class weapon types have been altered as well. Warrior's can only use a weapon and shield combo or heft two handed weapons while dual wielding has been restricted to rogues. Mages can carry bladed staffs that do decent melee damage as well. The classes themselves are also nicely varied. Warriors are satisfying tanks who will appeal to the hack-n-slash fan in all of us. While rogues will satisfy a player looking to exert more control of the battlefield by say targeting a dangerous mage, stealthing past its guards and unleashing a devastating single target combo. Mages complete the party by having some very epic spells for dealing death from afar and supporting you during tougher enemy and boss encounters. Crushing prison comes to mind as a personal favorite.

    Leveling has been revamped as well. You still gain three points every level but you'll be spending some of them on different attributes. Both a warriors strength and constitution must be improved to wear high end armors while wielding their deadliest weapons only requires high strength. Rogues must only increase cunning by 10 every time to improve lock picking and dexterity for access to top tier weapons but both dexterity and cunning must be improved to don their best armors. For a mage to have access to the best robes they must buff their magic and willpower and better staves will require better magic. There are no truly new specializations but picking skills has moved away from skill tree's and are now skill webs. Each skill is now connected to a category such as Warmonger, Subterfuge, Arcane, etc. Each companion also has a unique skill web you must unlock by gaining either their friendship or rivalry. Overall, I'm pleased with the updated art style, save for one thing, the Darkspawn. Their look is not what I would expect pure all encompassing darkness to be. In Origins, they were the stuff of nightmares, disgusting and unnerving. They remind me of pale faced crack addicts this time around, which makes me very thankful for their limited role in this installment.

    My only real gripes with Dragon Age 2 are mainly the limited inventory for your companions gear and some reused dungeon maps. Buying new clothing and armor for your party would be nice but overall I believe its a very small negative in light of the games many other pluses. As for the reused maps, I was so absorbed into the world and story I didn't even start to notice until about 30 hours in. Even then, the maps are still much easier to understand then they were in Origins anyway.

    This is a different way of experiencing the world of Thedas and it's not going to be for everyone. Especially die hard fans of the PC version of Dragon Age: Origins. Still, this is an excellent experience that should not be overlooked and certainly lives up to Bioware's excellent pedigree. There is always room for improvement and I for one, cannot wait for Dragon Age 3.
  2. Aug 9, 2011
    While disappointed by Dragon Age II in some aspects it is till a solid game that contains the Bioware touch. I'm shocked how many diehard Bioware fans claim that they'll never purchase another Bioware game because of this. My score is inflated because so many others on here are terribly deflated. The number of 0s is astonishing considering what a 0 game would really be like.
    graphics, quick load times, accessible interface, and an intriguing storyline that is unique in the way it tells a story of one person over time, in the same place. I loved that aspect although I understand why some might not. As for the criticism of the dungeons being too repetitive, I agree but this seems far more minor to me than many argue. Why is it so important for the map to be different in those dungeons when they all look so familiar in other games anyhow? In short, I loved this game despite it not living up to the quality of the predecessor. Expand
  3. Sep 30, 2011
    I did enjoy Da:0 alot. It was truely a joy playing a new rpg in Bioware class and style with a new universe that was both intriguing and dark. As such I did fast favor Da:0 over my old Bioware favorite Mass effect , and while proberly most people sat playing ME2 at launch, I was still stuck playing multiple playthroughs through Ferelden, not touching ME2 until about 3 months ago after I finished my third playthough of Dragon age 2. I would say now that while Mass effect 1, 2, and DA:O are all terrific games with a quality not touched by any other roleplaying game serie I know of, DA:2 is for me the pinnacle of Bioware rpgs, a stepping stone to something even better. Let me explain: DA:2 is in many ways a different game then DA:O. It has a new dialogue system loaned by Mass effect, a reworked skill system,a new faster phaced fighting system making it into something more of a action game, and a simplication in roleplaying stats as itemization
    and stats. The later, something of the same as ME -> ME2, giving your compainons finalized gear and outfits, not giving you much of a choice customizing anything else then your own characther. While this might seem boring at first and missed, I couldnt in the end really see how it made the game any far less enjoyable. What makes Bioware game shine as much as they do are in my opinion mostly based on how great the compainons are. These characthers that follow you on your quests have always been greatly well done, always making me have more fun being stuck in conversations then actuall fighting in any Bioware game. Having these characthers having unique unchangable looks doesnt really bother me, instead for me it adds to the flavor, making each characther even more unique and unforgetting. I could go with having the option changing their gear, but as the game plays on, it really isnt that all missed. Going back to the compainions conversations and personalies, there is another great change in the dialoge system. Gone is the multiple text choices and in goes the wheel from Mass effect, giving you more pre defined and hinted choices. You always know when you are charming or intemitating, or joking, or being rude or being nice, or being persuaive. You can pretty much look at the icons for each dialoge choice and click it instead of looking at what your characther is actually saying in words. This is for me a big change from DA:O and not something always in my liking. I miss having conversations without a already known outcome. I miss saying something and not really be prepared where the conversation is going. The ME wheel is nice yes, but I really would like something more to DA:O. There is also the problem with about all the conversations being pre decided. Whatever choices you do you always end up with the same outcome in most cases, and this is in my opinion one of DA:2s biggest flaws, which stretches it self even to the games story. Before going into that I would like to finalize that the conversations in DA:2 are still great, well written and entertaining. They could just been less pre decided and defined.
    Going to the game story, its great. Its something of a rise to power story ( which I think is even a catch phrase done by Bioware for the game ), making out how your characther goes from being a nobody to a well respected hero. Its a bit Mass Effect the first over it, and while it may not be as epic or glorious as the first Dragon age's fight against the blight, it is good in its own way. It has all the exitement, twists , characthers and fantasy gory thats needed for a great story in this type of game, and it gets the job done. As with the conversations I do feel at times as whatever I do, Im always being pushed in the same direction. To say that no rpg is linear is false, but its abit to much in DA2, as I can feel my choices always makes me end up all the same. While its understandable that there is a story and I have to keep myself within it, I would like the illusion atleast that my own choices does make a difference, not just a gimmick. If I do run around and scream at whatever person I see, looking for the first best fight, I do not want to end up at the same exact place with the same exact conversation outcomes as if I workship the very ground the npcs are standing at, charming them with words and avoiding conflict at all cost. It was done in DA:O, it should be as well done in DA:2. Going quickly over the other changes, the combat is remade into a faster and more action like experience. I dont find it easier ( actually playing at hardest difficultiy, I have found myself pausing alot more in DA:2 then I ever did in DA:O ) but more fun and innovatie then DA:O was. The skill system is the best I seen in any rpg yet, beside I do miss the crafting abilities being skills. In a summary DA:2 is a sequal with alot of changes going on and not all of them in favor. But it is still quality and a great game that should be played by everyone. Done believe the hate, play it.
  4. Oct 24, 2011
    First, DO NOT LITSEN TO THOSE WHO HATE IT. Here's why: many of those who have written negatively about this game see it as merely the next step from Origins. While it did, they wanted it to step right, when it stepped left.

    The game does seem to detract from the concepts that made it so popular with a particular gaming crowd. More specifically, this is the crowd that seems to swarm the
    internet with their opinions. They expected a game based around old time RPG concepts, as a contrast to the trend of RPGs gaining a greater variety of concepts in cinema, action, and others in recent years. They were, to their dismay, wrong.

    Dragon Age 2 wields a strong assortment of new concepts for the modern age. Not all work, but they all build on the fundamental basis that made the first Dragon Age what it was. The gameplay is faster paced, and the cinematic experience is better, and the dialogue system is the best in the business by a bit. Built around a unique and interesting story, the game does feel like it was rushed. The large amount of repeated environments will make this obvious. It can be seen elsewhere, and hurts a number of aspects of the game. This, not on any reasonable level, does not make this game bad. Dragon Age 2 is a fun experience if you enjoy taking a chance on a unique action RPG. Don't expect to find an older styled RPGed, though. Also don't expect it to be great. Too high expectations can kill the experience and magnify what should be negligible flaws. I'd suggest that anyone who is remotely interested to try it at least through demo, though copies seem to be going for cheap after the internet backlash,
  5. Nov 8, 2011
    Surely this isn't a better game then the first part. But still it doesn't deserve all the negative score that it's getting now. Problem with this game is that they have flattened out a few of the RPG elements which shouldn't have been flattened out. Second; I don't get why they have repeating dungeon's. That is a big mistake. My last negative point would be the enemies just spawning next to you. That seems really silly.

    So what is so great about this game? The story is just great. It's refreshing not to see some "hero needs to safe the world" story we are all getting used to. It's about a city with (and I dare to say) realistic problems. There is poverty, violence and discrimination. All problems that you are getting involved in and need to solve. The play through I had with this game lasted for 50 hours and those were 50 hours well spend. Simply love it and I hope there will be part 3 soon.
  6. Nov 11, 2011
    I really enjoyed the Kirkwall atmosphere and i believe the reason i like the game is why traditional RPG enthusiasts diss it. THe game attempts to merge more with the ME2 style of RPG's and i don't think that is a bad thing. The story is solid, Some missions are dumb and the impact of other peoples decisions screws with the choices you would want to make. I guess thats how real life is but the dice shouldn't be loaded as much when it comes to the decisions.
    Some of the companions are extremely well done and intrigue you greatly, however if you are committed to a Romantic relationship with one character early on you may not pay as much interest to characters that come along later in the game. Also the amount of grief that is thrown at Hawk is not really fair..Its one emotional body blow after another, and you can't do much about most of the situations.
  7. Nov 17, 2011
    Dragon Age 2 delivers the same classic RPG elements we have come to love from earlier BioWare titles, now with a hint of heavier, more fluent combat that pleases both old and new players alike. The stunning environments of Kirkwall and the surrounding lands never seize to amaze me, while some might be partially reused they still do bother the experience. In conclusion Dragon Age 2 is a full fledged gaming experience for true RPG fans. Expand
  8. Nov 20, 2011
    I never had one bad thing to say about DA2. I loved every minute of it. I've seen a lot of complaints about the re-use of caves and dungeons and what-not, but that doesn't bother me a bit. Graphics don't bother me a bit either. I do believe the graphics have improved from Origins, but in no way does graphics make a game. For me it's story and characters, and I loved both aspects in this game. I've bought all DLC so far, and I can't wait to see what happens in DA3. Expand
  9. Feb 24, 2012
    I was expecting something akin to Mass Effect in Medieval times. The only reason I bought it was because I had finished ME1 and ME2. I had not played Origins yet. In the end I found it fantastic, I had come to love a handful of the characters and grew especially attached to my style of playing, bring up the difficulty and you actually have use some strategy to win. No doubt they tried to cut costs with environments. I loved it so much I bought Dragon Age Origins Ultimate edition, which was much more pure RPG. In the end if you've played Mass Effect you should get this game Expand
  10. Oct 9, 2013
    Well you guys, I loved it. The characters, music and setting were all spot on. My only qualms about it was that it didn't develop much in the lore, because obviously the first Dragon Age was the first game and introduced a whole new world of fantasy to me as well as only being able to choose the one race to play as. The combat was a vast improvement where attacks felt more powerful and the skill tree was much more tightly focused with less useless "filler" spells. I think the only reason people hated this is because Bioware took the game in a different direction and focused on the one city and a genuinely unique story this time around instead of the clich├ęd "evil horde, one saviour to stop it" plot. PC gamers don't like change, which is why new things bomb. Dragon Age 2 actually put me in mind of Planescape in many regards since it's setting revolves around the one central hub, which is the city of Kirkwall, and a lot of the enjoyment from the game stems from your companions, all of whom were excellent in DA2 and easily the equal to, if not superior to those seen in Origins. Even Anders was given a much needed overhaul so he's not just an Alistair clone this time around. Expand
  11. Jan 25, 2013
    Quite possibly my favourite Bioware RPG of all time. The framed narrative, the measured pace of the development of Kirkwall as you interact with it and the room it provides your NPC companions to grow in all cannot be recommended enough. Yes it has a few problems with the end narrative being pretty firmly on rails, and re-use of environments so if you think these things are going to be a problems I will see the game is not for you. Likewise if coming to it from an endless Dungeon Crawling D&D background, and just want to play more of the endless brownfest of Dragon Age:Origins then this sequel is set to disappoint. If However you are more of a Story based gamer, who has always felt that Bioware sells itself short on the NPC and narrative side of things prepare for a much improved and suprisingly enjoyable game.

    In a nutshell if your favourite tabletop RPG is D&D 3.5 stick with DA:Origins, if it is Exalted play Dragon Age 2.
  12. May 12, 2013
    After hearing opinions and reading reviews, I'm convinced most people who despise this game do it for one reason only it is not Dragon Age: Origins. They try to justify their hatred for the game by blowing minimal flaws out of proportion. Here is my opinion.

    Dragon Age 2 has amazing combat. It is all subjective, and many would prefer the MMO-reminiscent auto attacking and occasional
    move selecting layout, but I highly prefer this more engaging, action-RPG "button mashing" style. The attribute trees have been cleaned up, the 3 classes now all have defined options and roles.

    The characters in this game are not shallow. I do get tired of listening to them all whine about their pasts and their personalities, but just because they are annoying does not mean they are weak. Most notably, Anders and Isabela have extreme character development depending on how your relationship with them is.

    And, yes, just to get it out of the way, the game has flaws. They overuse dungeons like there is no tomorrow, the NPCs eyes are unreasonably bright, the overall graphics are lackluster (but highly improved from Origins,) everyone has the same outfits and looks the same, the story is arguably weaker (depending on your tastes, I thought it was weaker,) and of course we were all led to believe Flemeth would play an important role in the beginning but she never showed up after the first act.

    The flaws are existent, but they are not deal breakers and they are not the meat-and-bones of the game. The combat is strong, the story is solid and the characters aren't a bunch of walking cliches. This is a GOOD game, it's just not Origins.
  13. Feb 6, 2014
    Gameplay is where DAII was the weakest, though the Xbox version felt more RPG-y than the PC version. I never finished it on Xbox, though as far as I got, it wasn't glitchy or anything, just not the best combat system. This deserves more love than it gets.
  14. Nov 6, 2013
    I'll be honest, this is my favourite game game of all time. The combat is a huge step up and the story is extremely compelling, people need to stop treating this game like its a horrible game just because you like your precious dragon age origins so much and this game wasn't 100% the same
  15. Jan 4, 2014
    This game is an example of how great an RPG can get. The character creation is extensive and how you can integrate what you did in DA Origins makes me want all other RPG's to have that feature. The graphics are good and the world is well made and the quests are well made. Definitely my 2nd favorite RPG trailing only the mighty Skyrim. My only problem is the game might seem confusing until you play the game for a few hours and you get the hang of it. Definitely recommend it for all who love The Elder Scrolls or Mass Effect, or lovers of a well made RPG. Expand
  16. Jul 16, 2014
    Why are there so many people that hate this game? The combat can be just as tactical as they want it to be but in order to succeed in fights it is not essential. The characters are still pretty cool and the world looks just as great as the rest of the settings of the other games. I feel the game was more angled towards the Mass Effect fans as it feels more like ME2 than DAO but it is still a great game for all Bioware fans.The one thing they don't have is another weapon slot like in DAO yet the one and only weapon slot helps determine the class you specialize in (I am very indecisive in RPGs).
    Basically the game is great and everyone giving it a 0 or something under a 7 are ignorant fools. Just go into the game with an open mind.
  17. Nov 16, 2014
    DA:2 is a wonderful game with rich, rewarding storytelling, and a highly satisfying degree of player agency over the contents of that story. The NPCs are memorable and wonderfully realized; the dialogue tree is streamlined in a way that feels snappy and responsive, while respecting my choices as a players; and the game does a great job of representing a world where nothing is good or evil, but rather ambiguous shades of grey. To that point - Dragon Age 2 is possibly the first game that made me question my in-game moral compass, and re-evaluate my decisions based on the outcomes of the story. Every decision is a shade of grey, and every perspective in the game can be justified logically - and so it becomes immensely satisfying to make different choices and to explore the nuances of the political struggles going on in city of Kirkwall. Although DA:Origins was also a fantastic game, I felt like I always knew what the "correct" or "morally acceptable" decision was, and I was rarely torn over what to do. In DA2, these lines are far less clear, which is I believe truer to the original vision of the franchise and ultimately more satisfying.
    One complaint I have heard repeatedly is that DA2 lacks traditional RPG elements and is more of an action game. If you are only looking at the system, that might be partly true. However, the most important part of an RPG game to me is the ability to play a character and take on a unique role (RPG = Role Playing Game). Deciding what my character wears is okay, but deciding what my character does is the absolute essence of an RPG. DA2 focuses on this aspect of playing a role, and I personally found this focus delightful. I also appreciated the very personal story of DA2, which touches on big world-altering events, but is ultimately more about the individual lives of the people in the story. It is a smaller, less epic story than DAO, but I do not think this is necessarily a bad thing. It is simply different. I will admit that some of the larger story threads do not ultimately pan out in a satisfying way, and I was disappointed by this. But the story of Hawke and his/her friends did hold together, and did feel satisfying.
    Regarding other complaints i have seen about the game. Yes, there are repeated environments. Is this really the most important aspect of a game? The caves are noticeable and a slight detractor, but they are short areas that are not very important. The city of Kirkwall is huge, and I really enjoyed getting to explore one location in depth over time. By the end of the game, I felt like it was truly my city, and I had come to care about what happened to it. So, I can understand the complaint, but from a story perspective the choice has some merit in my humble opinion.
    I suppose whether or not you enjoy DA2 comes down to whether you need an epic, sprawling, world-shaking story line to enjoy your RPG content, or whether a more personal story that scratches the surface of the outer world is more your cup of tea. I enjoyed both DAO and DA2 a great deal, but they are very different games with different sensibilities. That said, there are things that happen in 2 that feel like they will have major repercussions in the world of Thedas, and I am greatly looking forward to seeing what the next game has in store.

Generally favorable reviews - based on 75 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 55 out of 75
  2. Negative: 1 out of 75
  1. Aug 3, 2011
    I'll give Bioware points for trying to do something different in their world, but they really did have it right the first time in terms of character building and the scope of the story.
  2. May 1, 2011
    Faulty game mechanics and disappointing maps, combat scenarios and storyline direction aside, Dragon Age II still has a surprising amount of intrigue hidden beneath the blemishes. The depth of character relationships, as well as the complex nature of the world of the Dragon Age franchise are a savior to a game that would otherwise forever be remembered by its mistakes.
  3. Apr 22, 2011
    Above all, it seems like Dragon Age II is an experiment. If you're a fan of the first game and expect a direct continuation, either in story or mechanics, you'll be disappointed. If you're not willing to put up with some rough edges and some mechanics that don't quite work as intended, you'll end up having a hard time. But if you're going for a game that has some of the best storytelling in RPGs in a while, or you're looking for a BioWare RPG to tide yourself over until Mass Effect 3, you won't do much better right now than Dragon Age II.