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“Dragon Age II” – (PS3)

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

By Laura Warner

Dragon Age II Box Art

Dragon Age II

© EA Games

The Bottom Line

“Dragon Age II” takes players back into the “Dragon Age”, universe which is packed with magic, monsters and of course dragons. But don’t be fooled, it’s not really just a sequel. It’s a brand new adventure, with a new hero, a new land, and a completely new story to be played out. BioWare also made some innovations to the game play, making dialog less cumbersome and changing the fighting style to a more visceral button mashing experience. While you won’t be continuing your adventure from the previous title, there is an entirely new and dangerous story to be fought and unfolded as the Champion of Kirkwall.
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Pros

  • Hours of game play, including valuable side quests
  • Rich story supported by well developed characters
  • "Dragon Age II" looks and sounds stunning
  • The "acts" are broken up with a enjoyable story involving a dwarf and the chantry

Cons

  • Over-simplifying things such as the dialog streamlined game play too much
  • The game isn’t really a sequel nor is it entirely a new title, instead it falls somewhere in between
  • You’ll spend the majority of your time in one city, instead of seeing more of the country
  • Quest and dungeon maps quickly become repetitive

Description

  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • Developer: BioWare
  • ESRB Rating: M for Mature
  • Genre: RPG, Role Playing Game
  • Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, Mac

Guide Review - “Dragon Age II” – (PS3)

There have been a lot of reviews and comments out there comparing “Dragon Age II” to its predecessor “Dragon Age: Origins,” and rightfully so. While the game has been totted as a sequel to “DA: Origins” when in actuality it is a different story that happens to be set in the same universe. While there are a few overlapping moments during the early game play and a few other conversations to be had during the game, the adventure as the Kirkwall Champion is completely separated from the harrowing days as a Grey Warden trying to change the fate of an entire kingdom.

“Dragon Age II” has a storyline that is more focused and linear than its predecessor. Set in the large city of Kirkwall the game brings you in much closer to the politics and affairs of the inhabitants of the city. To accommodate this closeness to the city is a more linear main-plot, with addition of more side quests and sub-plots available. This allows the main story line to feel relevant and coherent while giving you as a player plenty of choices and freedom to effect things beyond just the big plot points. The main issue with this tactic is you won’t really get the sense of change within the city politics, or your own companions until you reach Act 2, which can be more than some 10 hours into game play.

Companions and their opinions still greatly affect your game and how you choose to play it. You won’t spend hours trying to ply them with useless objects this time, instead you’ll find a few meaningful objects that will trigger plot points with each of your possible companions. You’ll now also be able to keep the best armor for yourself, because your companions will take care of the bulk of their armor, and you just need to adjust things like rings and amulets for them to adorn. The character’s dialog in “Dragon Age II” is well written and still as funny as one might expect from a BioWare title, but the dialog system has been slimmed down significantly. You no longer plan your responses from lengthy dialog; rather you choose an option such as a peaceful or a sarcastic response.

Taking fighting in a new direction, “Dragon Age II” is more of a button-mashing rampage than a thoughtful planning of attacks. It can be incredibly enjoyable and there are moments you can plan out, because the different types of characters can stack attacks together to bring down the big bosses more quickly. The boss characters often feel like something out of an old “Zelda” game, where they will do a set combination of attacks, while creating the nuisances of minor monsters to fight against at the same time. However the defeat of a big boss is often well rewarded, and brings the challenge up significantly.

“Dragon Age II” is a solid title with hours of fun to be had and has a high replay value. It is and beautifully crafted. Aesthetically it is a real joy to play. If you can set aside your expectations of what a sequel is and play “Dragon Age II” for the game it is, on its own, you will not be disappointed.

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Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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