When Bioware first announced a sequel to Dragon Age: Origins I was a bit sceptical. I did enjoy the original DA but there is no denying that at times, especially at the beginning, it sure did drag. But then I remembered another flagship Bioware title that had pretty much exactly the same issue, namely Mass Effect.
Mass Effect was an epic drag-fest at times to the point where I nearly abandoned it. When Mass Effect 2 came out I certainly didn’t rush out and buy it. Instead I waited till I could pick it up for under £20 and even then it was a while before I fired it up. When I did eventually start playing MA2 I was nothing short of blown away. Bioware had taken all of the feedback about the original and made nothing short of an epic top 3 Xbox 360 title. So, would they do the same for Dragon Age 2?
I got pretty lucky with my Dragon Age 2 purchase. It was near my birthday and I had a bit of birthday cash left in my pocket. My main man Robyn (he’s a boy) Green had purchased Dead Space 2 on 360 (I still want to borrow that Greeno) but had got Dragon Age 2 on the PC (Lame-o). This meant he had a special content key going spare which he let me have so I could get the Dead Space 2 style armour. On top of this I walked speculatively into Game in Leeds and they had DA2 advertised at £34.99. I walked to the counter where I was served by a really nice young lady who turned out to be the manager. We chatted for a bit and then she tried to charge me £39.99 or they had a second hand copy for £34.99. I said
Are you sure? Inside the door it says £34.99 new.
And off she trotted to return a minute later.
So it does. I’m really sorry about that. Tell you what, I have a last copy of the Signature Edition. Hows about that for £34.99?
So on to the game..
In short Dragon Age 2 is bloody amazing. It takes all of the best bits of DA: Origins like the character progression, the combat, the dialogue and the fact you can bonk all your female party members and raises the bar. Everything about this game is spot on. The combat has been made slicker and as a DPS warrior, death was but a few button presses away, but not to the extent where you just repeatedly bashed the attack button.
The dialogue has been heavily tweaked so that it flows more freely and the love / hate system has been replaced by friend / rival. Where as before if you annoyed your comrades enough they would up sticks and sod off, now they simply communicate with you in a different way. Get them to be friends and new romance options and a special companion skill become available. Get them to be rivals and they get a bit stand-offish and a special companion skill becomes available.
Some people have been moaning about the character creation as their is very few customisation options available at the start and the only real game changer choices are Male / Female and Warrior / Rogue / Wizard. I didn’t find this so much of an issue and there are plenty of armour / weapon / skill combinations to keep you busy throughout.
On the bonk front. You can pretty much bonk anything. DA2 caters for any sexual orientation (which can be a bit creepy at times) and even has a Whore House which again caters for all (creepy).
From a graphics point of view, the graphics are great. Not the best I have seen on the 360 but perfectly adequate for the task at hand. The frame rate stays high and I love the way you can slaughter a gang and then have a conversation with the damsel you have rescued while covered head to toe in blood. So lets talk scores…
If I was a professional games journalist and people actually gave a crap about how I scored stuff, I would give Dragon Age 2:
Graphics 7/10 – Not the best but superior the DA: Origins.
Gameplay 8/10 – Lots to do and plenty of ways to do it.
Depth 9/10 – Awesome. Loads of random quests to keep you busy and barrels to be searched.
Combat 8/10 – A few people have moaned by I really liked it.
Overall 8/10 – Get it!!!
Oh yeah I was going to mention the DLC. The Isaac armour (the bonus from Dead Space 2) never made it on to my character but I’m sure it would have looked cool. The Dark Emporium was a nice touch and a fun way of adding some pretty awesome but bloody expensive items. There also seems to be loads of other DLC available to unlock via other purchases and the Facebook companion game. DA: Origins has some awesome DLC and so does DA 2.