Dragon Age 2: Is It Worth It?

It’s been a long time since I’ve been lost in an RPG, and I personally think that sucks.  With the last RPG that I invested time in, Final Fantasy XIII, I’m never getting back, I began to wonder if the days of roaming the countryside, visiting shops and completing side quests were long gone. Critically speaking, Bioware, the creators of the Dragon Age series and the Mass Effect series, have breathed much needed life back into this linear, story driven, and hour-long-cut-scene genre.  With the first game, Dragon Age:Origins, Bioware went back to their Baldur’s Gates roots with heavily detailed dialog sequences and phantom-roll-of-the-dice fighting system that we hardcore RPGers fell in love with, and with that they had a series that would rival the RPG juggernaut The Elder Scrolls series…and then they made a sequel.

I’m gonna be perfectly blunt, I hate casual gamers.  Casual gamers are slowly ruining this industry and Dragon Age 2 is a prime example of how.  Bioware chose to design the PC version and then dumb it down for the console user, which is me because I don’t own a supped up gaming system despite my co-worker constantly whispering, “PC” in my ear on a daily basis.  According to him, the fighting style for Dragon Age 2 is the same as it was for the first game, which was fun and enjoyable.  Console version gives us a hack-and-slash quick button, whether it was the “A” button on the 360 or the “X” button on the PS3.  I felt it was heavily reliant on that, which made this feel like an action/adventure game and not an RPG.  That I did not like, even with the quick action button skills that you gain by using attribute points in the new and very easy to navigate skill map.  With the Mass Effect leveling system that they incorporated into this game, I found this system to be an improvement over the first game’s leveling tree, which drove me nuts trying to find the action or spell i just spent the points on to use in battle.  Well, enough about the so-so handling and technical improvements/downgrades and on to the gameplay…

Not much variety is there from the start when creating a character; basically Warrior, Rogue or Mage are your classes and you get you choice of male or female…Yay!!  Most of the missions are extremely short, mostly run here, fetch that quests which take you in and out of Kirkwall’s very limited landscape.  Seriously, I found myself doing three completely different missions, going to three supposedly different locations and I swear I was in the same dungeon as the one I had just left.  I kept count and it was about ten different locations, which an RPG this does not make.  I’m sure most of you, like me, were missing Ferelden’s vast forest and varying landscapes.  I will say that even though you’re revisiting recycled areas, it does still have something that keeps your interest, but what that is I don’t know.  Character development is much better in this game and the companion quests were the most fun for me besides the main storyline, because even if you constantly do or say things to piss off a companion, they don’t just up and leave you like in the first game but become a”Rival,” whatever that means.  According to the level tree in their specific character skill, that would give the party a power up.  As I said earlier, they dumbed down the dialog and went the Mass Effect route, which wasn’t a real issue for me and made things go faster, but a lot of other reviewers were saying that they missed the “Intimidate” or “Persuade” feature that Origins offered in conversations.  The story was pretty bland when compared to the first one and I found myself doing every side quest thrown at me to simply extend the gameplay and make it worth my $60, but if there aren’t some decent DLCs coming down the pipe, I may find myself revisiting the first one just for kicks and hope they take the strengths of Dragon Age:Origins and Dragon Age 2 and make something new that will put them on the top of the RPG mountain, where in my opinion, Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls saga still sits firmly on top.

Final Verdict for Dragon Age 2:

3 out of 5