The 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.
Dragon Age Origins was an enormous mouthful in a time where huge games are a rarity. Dragon Age II is somewhat shorter, but nevertheless a big game with an exceptionally well-framed story. Most of the new additions and updates are welcome, even if they don't put the game at the front of the pack. Easily recommended.
Easily the best game in the series, just missing the scope of Origins. Great gameplay, characters, and story, its just a shame BioWare was forced to work with so little. However the fact they could still make an enjoyable game with tons of replayability speaks to how great the studio is.
It 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.
Despite its game mechanics being streamlined to cater the console-audience with a high tempo and a smaller set of statistics, Dragon Age II is still a massive role-playing adventure. With its immersive storyline and good class system, it its yet another Bioware game in the collection of great role-playing experiences.
Not as good as orgins or inquisition but still a great game and worth it if you are a fan of dragon age. Characters are great. the setting (cities etc) are solid. lots of abilities and powers to choose from. a lot of variety in how you play
Coming fresh from beating DA:O and all of it expansions it makes really frustrating playing this game
It has basically the same type of combat and commands as DA:O but executed very differently.
The combat (and the animations) got a lot faster mostly because of the way they design the levels and the combat encounters. Instead of having all the enemies placed on the map, you will find a small group and when you start combat they will have spawning waves of enemies that come from pretty much everywhere in the surrounding area of the encounter, which would be fine if the gameplay itself was something more appropriate to this kind of design (something like Devil May Cry or even Diablo), instead we have very generic and streamlined gameplay mechanics that doesn't fit the type of game that was supposed to be.
The gameplay changes are probably the worst part about this sequel (even though I liked the new animations compared to the dull ones from DA:O), but another thing that buggered me the most was the reused scenarios and the way they did it, because a lot of times you would do a few missions in a row that used the same scenario but in a different part of the map, which was very bad for immersion
There are a few things good about the game, but as a Dragon Age title is a disappointment
Dragon Age II is the best representation of games that suffer due to new elements leading to neglect of old ones.
Change is never a bad thing, but its execution is what makes or breaks games that label themselves as the "next step" on the series' evolutionary ladder. Dragon Age II is no different, change is what made the parts of the game that were praised and change is what broke the parts of the game that were hated.
The best thing about change in regards to Dragon II is definitely the combat. While not extraordinary, the fact that you play a bigger part in how things unfold allows for a more fun combat experience rather than treating it as a "Press A and watch until someone needs micro-managing" chore.
However, that is where the well-executed change ends. The new system of personality was not developed upon enough, making it seem more as a meaningless statistic rather than one that actually impacted the story, with friendship and rivalry following the same path. Companions were not as developed as in the first game, making them seem more like something you would like to read a Wiki article on than do a personal quest for. Maps were a joke, with many environments being recycled to the point of being ludicrous (fighting at least 4 different factions in the same cave or warehouse at different times, for instance). The plot was not completely terrible, but paled in comparison to that of the first, which is a serious problem if you're dealing with a series and not just a standalone game.
All in all, the game suffered from lack of force concentration: attempting to "revolutionize" so many aspects of the game that you dilute the framework of it to the point of decaying its value.
Is it a terrible game on its own? No, it is mediocre but certainly not the worst I've ever played.
Is it a terrible installment of the Dragon Age series? Without a doubt.