Mar 7, 2011The advancements in RPG mechanics would be enough to set it apart, but the real achievement of Dragon Age II is in the story-telling. I could point out the improved combat and graphics till there's blood covering my face, but BioWare is one of the few companies that uses the advanced computing power available to modern game designers to let you actually play a role.
Mar 8, 2011It really seems like the biggest mistake is calling it "DA2," as it's just different enough from Dragon Age: Origins to not feel like a sequel, but more like a reboot. The different main character, the faster and more streamlined combat, and the overall structure makes it feel like a fine Dragon Age adventure, but not a direct follow-up to DAO.
Mar 8, 2011A flawed, repetitive, and wholly derivative Western RPG, but still manages to be a vast improvement over the original and should greatly please fans of Origins. Fans of Mass Effect may also find enough satisfaction here to hold them over until ME3 releases, but make no mistake: if only one Bioware title is nominated for awards this year, it will not be this one.
Mar 12, 2011Dragon Age II is an astoundingly good game. Having now played for around 10 hours I can say with a measured opinion that it has met andDragon Age II is an astoundingly good game. Having now played for around 10 hours I can say with a measured opinion that it has met and surpassed all my expectations. I completed Origins and poured over 112 hours into the game. I am by no means a simple fan boy and would have been bitterly disappointed had I not thought Bioware had put the same level of skill and commitment into the sequel. I have not been disappointed and I fail to see where and why all the user criticism spawns from on this page. I loved Origins and I feel no hesitation in stating that I believe DA2 is a much improved game.
The pacing is much faster and more exciting, whilst keeping the focus of the narrative throughout - something Origins failed to do at times (there's a Blight going on?).
The action and fighting dynamics have seriously been improved. Remember people this is the Xbox 360 version we are reviewing and as a console version, it's fighting mechanics have been vastly improved. It's fluid, it's faster and ultimately, it's more exciting. There seems to be a theme arising that people believe it is more like a button basher now. Can I remind you that the sole difference there is that now rather than simply pressing A once and having the character automatically attack, you now do so yourself. I fail to see why this is a negative.
The story is gripping and the character dynamics and interaction is as superb as it was in the original but with the vast improvement of a fully voiced character. Furthermore, the characters are equally as funny, original and likeable as they were in the original - with the exception of maybe Morrigan (a favourite of mine).
The graphics are, as expected, a considerable improvement and the scale of Kirkwall is impressive. Another complaint stems from the fact that the majority of the game is played within it's boundaries but this is by no means a bad thing. In fact, it makes perfect sense for the story which is being portrayed.
Please, if you are considering buying this game, do not be put off by the overtly harsh criticism on this site and do so. If you are a fan of rpgs and most particularly if you enjoyed the first game, I implore you to play this game: you will not regret it.… Expand
Mar 17, 2011I loved it. People can hate on Bioware all they want but this game was fantastic. The beginning seemed a bit slow at first, but I don'tI loved it. People can hate on Bioware all they want but this game was fantastic. The beginning seemed a bit slow at first, but I don't believe it could have been any other way. The manner in which the story ramps up the juice first slowly then with greater speed had me questioning my decisions and at one point sitting in shock. This was a great game. Yes it is different, and I applaud Bioware for smashing the mold on a tired old game system that is simply no longer needed in this day and age. This was not DnD, this was not Dragon Age: Origins. This was something new and beautiful. RPG's were never supposed to be about hitting action keys and spending hours on a leveling process. It is about playing a role.
In Dragon Age: 2 you play the role of Hawke, starting out as just a guy trying to get by, you are inexplicably pulled into a whirlwind of events happening in your new home. The new interface is clean, and the fact that it fades from view when not needed is fantastic. I have loved the programmable controller button concept since Fable 1, and I choose my characters skills to keep me off the radial menu. The potential to either directly control your associates or just let them hang back and do their job was wonderful. I hate pausing a game. As to the story I found it to be intriguing. At first, despite hype I had read since the game was announced, I truly didn't know what was happening. I started to wonder how long I would have to do all these side quests... then BAM something big happens. From that point it just gets bigger. This game literally had me in shock. At least twice I set my controller down and just stared at my giant screen. One time I reloaded just to make sure I had understood what had happened. I was confused that after such a short time I genuinely felt close to a character I had largely ignored. Bravo Bioware!
This game defies the standard that so many people have begun to believe comprises an RPG. It takes the story and gameplay and merges them into something that begs to be called art. Is it for everyone? Well it should be! There is no excuse with the computational power at our finger tips not to finally advance the genre. This was a bold move and I think one that pays off. Love it or hate it, the game has finally changed. As to the current accusations that Bioware employees tried to inflate the rating here. If that were the case then you would have seen far more positive reviews. How naive to think most companies from game developers to hardware manufacturers do not inflate reviews every chance they get. I am glad in this case for had I not seen the article on another site I would not have realized that so many people, many of which could work for Bioware's competitors had written bad reviews of a game I deeply enjoyed. So here I am. I agree whole heartedly with Avanost that dislike for this game largely stems from an inability to let go of conventions. We gamers are constantly derisive of anyone who "clones" another companies games (one in particular comes to mind in the MMO space) and yet the moment true innovation, skillfully executed hits the shelf we cry foul and crawl back in our familiar box unable to contend with change. I am disappoint in all of you!
I say cheers Bioware! Now go use that engine for Old Republic 3... I want to smash things with a lightsaber!!!… Expand
Mar 8, 2011You can really tell that the developers wanted to follow in the footsteps of ME2. The game is streamlined and the inventory is cleaned up aYou can really tell that the developers wanted to follow in the footsteps of ME2. The game is streamlined and the inventory is cleaned up a great deal. It is by no means a bad game, and i'm finding it very enjoyable and worth the money I spent on it. If you're looking for a direct expansion of DA:0 then you may be left wanting; but if you're looking for a new experience it's definitly worth your time. Bottom line is, you have to ask yourself, has Bioware let you down before? If you answer yes, you might want to pass on this title. You really have to look at it as a completely new game, rather than an expansion, or even extension of DA:O, and if you can do that, then you'll have fun with it.… Expand
Mar 30, 2011Without a doubt, a middling, muddling attempt to cater to the hack and slash / Mass Effect fans while TRYING to lightly cater to the fans thatWithout a doubt, a middling, muddling attempt to cater to the hack and slash / Mass Effect fans while TRYING to lightly cater to the fans that made Dragon Age Origins a hit. In the end it succeeds at doing neither. From reusing maps that are surprisingly similar in design from random quest #33 to random quest #85 (which was surprisingly similar in design to the map used in random quest #10), to the tactic-less approach to combat. Companions who were, for the most part, never really a "stand out" kind of lot. No Urdnot Wrex, no Tali vas, no HK-47. They're OK, but they are no Wrex. I also felt no real sense of purpose, no feeling that what I was doing was shaping or changing the future of Kirkwall, other than having Hawke move from rags to riches. Every event I played, seemed lifeless and self contained in their Acts, with no real significance or impact on the overall. My only one true praise is that it at least looks better than the drab lifeless world experienced in the first (and still superior) game.… Expand
May 28, 2011Very bad game following DAO. The combat is too flashy without any substance, animations are overexaggerated and trash mobs are everywhereVery bad game following DAO. The combat is too flashy without any substance, animations are overexaggerated and trash mobs are everywhere making you wonder "Just how many people do live in Kirkwall? I must've slain a thousand by now" . The level design is bland, dull and poorly done, with Bioware reusing the same dungeons at least 5 times(I did every sidequest hoping it would affect the main story.. big disappointment there as well). And I'm a real die-hard perfectionist/completionist in games and honestly... this game left a severely bad taste in my mouth. The story was meh really, no sense of scale and though some scenes were well done, the hundreds of enemies exploding from handblade strikes ruined the moment. Slash enemies with a dagger, they explode. Bash em with a large sword, they explode. Shoot em with an arrow, they explode. Blow em up with a fireball and guess what happens? These fights in between story missions are just NOT fun(nor are the enemies materializing out of the void) and the isometric camera is sorely missed, or the slightly free roam one to effectively survey the battlefield. It was watered down completely to the point it lost everything that DAO shined for and replaced with generic rpg drivel. It was the biggest disappointment of the year and I am definitely NOT getting DA3 anymore... ME3 is still a might since ME2 wasn't butchered THAT much, and at least there... combat wasn't this garbage.… Expand
Mar 17, 2011This sequel reminds me of the disappointment I felt when I played CoD3, after loving CoD2. Same game engine, but a completely different takeThis sequel reminds me of the disappointment I felt when I played CoD3, after loving CoD2. Same game engine, but a completely different take on the game and game world. Not so much a sequel as a homage or reboot.
DA2 really feels like it was made by a different studio, one with no regard for stylistic continuity.
I'd argue DA2 is more linear than past incarnations of this genre and doesn't shape up to offerings like Mass Effect that continue plot and character decisions across sequels. Mass Effect and DAO made me want to play them again to see how things would have turned out had I made different decisions. My choices in DA2 felt inconsequential, at least individually. The world itself is fairly linear as well, rather than the story or action pushing you forward - the maps / landscape forces you to move in a specific direction.
Perhaps my biggest disappointment was when I realized I could not import my character from DAO, I had to be a specific new character. I could pick my gender and class, although they all looked very similar, but there were less options than DAO which went beyond the typical 3 classes and 2 genders to offer up different races and unique back stories. I really think RPG fans expect more from this genre than a choice between Mage, Warrior or Rouge. I loved DAO and to be honest was hoping for more of the same with DA2. I played DAO through as three different characters - each experience had enough unique elements to keep me coming back for more. I especially liked that I could import my characters into the expansions packs and really enjoyed Awakenings (which in my opinion felt more satisfying as a sequel than DA2).
DA2 does allow you to import key plot points from your save game, although considering the first character I met in DA2 from DAO was one I killed in DAO - I'm not sure what impact this actually had. To be fair I think the part of DA2 I'm referring to is set before I killed said character in DAO (yep it's a kind of parallel story line as opposed to a continuation), but even so the character looked completely different. Had the name not been mentioned several times, I would not have guessed it was the same character.
DA2 also has none of the detail or depth of DAO.
It's highly stylised compared to DAO, icons replace images of weapons and armor in the inventory for example. Part of the fun of DAO was considering the look of the character as much as the features of items - but in DA2 with items represented by icons and the wider camera, you tend to just pick items purely on their stats like an old school Ever Quest game. Icons are a lot more abstract / stylised as well, so aren't always obvious what they represent - particularly the spells and skills. Likewise many back story elements and cut scenes are highly stylized 2d flash style animations. Similar to the flashbacks in the cartoon Mulan. The abstraction / style comes across as an animation cheat rather than an artistic decision.
The camera perspective is higher and wider than DAO, which has the effect of taking you out of the action and makes the battle field look more like Dynasty Warriors or Warriors Orochi - it's often confusing and the wider view means you see less detail in the charters and models. This is compensated for by the inclusion of non-interactive elaborate "finish him" cut sequences when you kill a boss. Combined with the faster pace and the single action button for attack that triggers combo / attack animations - the fighting feels very much like the Samurai button mashers I mentioned. The combat in DAO was always pretty basic compared to other RPGs, DA2 has simplified it further. The speed of the action also means less detail and more animation cheats for things like spells. Again this more realistic timing has been replaced by stylistic animation loops. Action is broken up by the turn based system, but even this doesn't feel as rewarding as DAO, with the wider view effecting enemy selection. There seems to be more enemies as well, but you seem to be able to take more damage and dispatch them faster than DAO as well. The gaps in the enemy waves allow you to regenerate, so all these aspects combined mean there's less reliance on the turn based tactics and more button mashing. The specialization system is similar to what was on offer in the DAO Expansions, but the layout isn't as clear. With specialization groups displays as trees rather than in a matrix with prerequisites. AI tactics seem better, but probably because combat is less complicated. In terms of visuals, you won't be having any Red Dead Redemption moments.
Bottom line is it really doesn't feel like a sequel. It feels more like a poor copy or a stylistic re-imagining… Expand
Apr 25, 2014This is not an RPG. There are no choices or customizations. It's like Government... you get the illusion of choice, you get 1 of 2 Satans toThis is not an RPG. There are no choices or customizations. It's like Government... you get the illusion of choice, you get 1 of 2 Satans to pick from. That's the options-scales in this game. Everything is flashy and meant to captivate you "ooh attacks look so cool now". It's smoke and mirrors... dog and pony show... NOT SUBSTANCE beneath it. It's boring, weak, and repetitive combat that is essentially brainless. No matter what class you're playing.
Knights Of The Old Republic was a legendary game that got EVERYTHING RIGHT. Story-telling... RPG, combat... characters... these Dragon Age games get worse and worse and they're all visuals with no real substance at all. And negative reviews are all correct... this game is ON RAILS. Again... NO OPTIONS. The illusion of choices.
Characters are awful. Story starts out boring and persists to be boring. You can interact with nothing but your next quest thing/guy/objective. On Rails.
I played this over a couple times as Rogue/Warrior and you're just restricted to nothing at the beginning-mid... few if any skills. Activated Abilities and Passives abound and limit actual gameplay. Combos non-existent. You're 8-12 years old you might like this game a lot. If you're older then that you will hate this piece of flaming ****
I'm pissed I wasted $20 and had to load these Gamestop Apps (because Origins Store kept having difficulties..) then loading Origins then updating... etc. etc. So much **** to just PLAY A GAME. That's not even a game.... It's not even a good story or movie-game. It's just awful beyond words. And there are recycled areas and everything...
Recycle, reduce, reuse. The philosophy of these companies now; especially with sequels.
I'm actually proud of myself thinking of that just now.... RECYCLE. REDUSE, REUSE. That's what these companies do in these games, especially EA. Remember Command and Conquer? Same... damn... thing... happened with it. Over and over.
DO NOT PURCHASE by titles. I played Diablo 1 and 2... did not buy 3. Watched the updates... learned it was corrupted and garbage. Made by different people. Same with Knights Of The Old Republic MMO... saw it was turning out to be trash and based on greed. Same with C&C titles. Titles get bought out and passed around and used to create a cashcow through people's nostalgia. Don't trust books by covers, ever, or people by looks, or games by titles/screenshots. Research first.
I mean I could go on all day how bad this game is. It's SO GOD DAMN BORING. BORING. BORING. BORING. Repetitive, NOT an RPG on any level.. (I mean what in this game constitutes it as a real RPG... seriously... it's an illusion). There's really no story either... the other negative reviews are saying it right; no story. Another illusion.
Go back to old games if you want great stories and great fun. Go play Diablo 1 and 2. Go play Knights Of The Old Republic, or even KOTOR 2, the unfinished and cut down sequel that was forced to be rushed out too early and got chopped in half. Even KOTOR 2 is better then this trash... BY FAR.
Some other points...
You cannot talk to party members... they have set gear. It's like no interaction or customization of them at all. You can summon a dog briefly.
The combat is just extremely slow and plodding. The difficulties just make things take longer to kill. That's all. So there's no difficulty, just kind of a handicap for the enemy. It doesn't make you think any different it just extends combat time. *shrug* You will be bored to tears.
Another major point: I don't want to paly a game... and read through a god damn bible of Codex/Journal/Quest stuff. There is so much crap to read... it's ridiculous.
Running and running and reading and reading and running... who wants to DO THAT. Reading is ok, but don't make people read ultra-boring, red herring... non-sequitur ****.
And quests don't upgrade with the details you want to see. You forget something, go back to the NPC and start over. Not like it matters.
Probably the most NOTEABLE THING... about this game, is the glitch looking movement and graphics. I have top of the line PC with 6-core processor and an awesome video card. JUST UPGRADED....
ANY VIDEO SETTINGS YEILD THE SAME GLITCHY LOOKING MOVEMENT AND ENVIRONMENT FLAWS. Big lines, squares of darkness... borders in the environment... weird anomalies... changing settings in anyway did nothing. Same speed, same choppy movements... same glitchy looking hair on characters that looks like toupees... (you can see under it, bald heads). Good graphics but terrible/recycled animations and doodads.. same bookshelf, same walls, same everything, everywhere. It looks like the same crap that was all in DA:O.... it seriously does... Doesn't even look like anything really new went into this.
Go watch the cutscenes on youtube if you want to see the story-aspects. That will tell you right there.… Expand
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Published: May 4, 2011The release of Portal 2 exposed a divide between game critics and users. While that title's user scores have rebounded, others haven't. We take a look at the games with the biggest score differentials between professional reviewers and gamers.