Disclaimer – I will try and keep this spoiler free but be warned I may imply or suggest things that you may not want to read if you have yet to play the game. Also this is not a review, but an opinion based on my experience and nothing else. If you disagree please comment below or if you feel so inclined posts your own rebuttal
Disclaimer aside onto the main event:
I didn’t expect to write this but I have been playing Dragon Age 2 since it was launched, I have tried to experience all variations of characters gender, talents and personality and I have to say that overall I feel disappointed.
It seems odd as just last week I was saying:
“To avoid any confusion, I should clarify that there is a difference between I want more, and I expect more. I want more of Mass Effect 2, and Dragon Age 2(Yeah I’m a Bioware fanboy)”
I can’t say why exactly, I have thought long and hard about it but I can’t quite put my finger onto a single flaw. It seems to be a lot of little things rather than one major gamebreaker. It goes without saying that there are obvious improvements between DAO and Dragon Age 2 but I don’t intend to go into them as this isn’t a review so I can be as Biased as I want. So without further ramblings here are my
Top 10 reasons why I felt disappointed at Dragon Age 2.
- The story; the first game had a huge story about a once in a lifetime blight and ended with an epic rooftop battle with an Archdemon. If you beat the Archdemon it felt like an accomplishment. YOU and only you had saved the world from war and depending on how you played the game you could have sacrificed yourself for the greater good. Dragon Age 2 couldn’t have a 2ndonce in a lifetime blight but the story they did go for just didn’t seem as heroic a task as saving the world. There is definitely more of a story to tell but the game ends on a cliff hanger
- The timeline: Bioware hyped up the fact the Hawke became the champion of Kirkwall and this was his/her story of how they got there and that it would take place over a decade. Now that’s not quite true now is it Bioware? The story does take place over 10years but I feel Bioware pulled a Molyneux on it. They promised an adventure what you actually get is separate sections of a story that end with a fade to black and then oh you are now in the future. For example when you arrive in Kirkwall you need to side with a faction and work with them for a year in order to pay your way into the city. Sounds like you and your sibling are going to have some interesting stories to tell doesn’t it? Er no. You pick a side, fade to black and then year one is over. Why’d I even pick a faction if I don’t actually do anything for then until later in the game? The game lasts 10 years so the timeframe would have to jump from time to time to progress forward but there must have been a better way than just jumping forward and having a codex entry to explained what happened in the last 3 years
- The male voice actor: It may just be me but once again I think that the male lead is no where near as good as the female lead. A quick check on IMDB may shed some light on this. Jo Wyatt has experience doing voiceovers and game voiceovers in particular whereas Nicholas Boulton has more experience as an on screen actor: Boulton’s acting just seemed flat and sounded less like Hawke was a person and more like Hawke was a man reading a script or one without personality.
- The glitches: By now we have all seen the infinite cash and XP glitch and most have probably exploited it. I tried it on my 3rdplay through but as it seemed that enemies levelled at the same rate as you I found it made the game harder and I quickly went back to playing it normally. It isn’t really a game breaking glitch and due to how easy it is to do I wonder if it is a glitch or just a giant social experiment by Bioware. There is another glitch which really bugs me and is in need of an immediate fix and that is all of the achievements linked to the DLC aren’t awarded when achieved. I’m not sure if this is limited to the 360 or if trophies have the same problem. It seems that you can fix this by deleting and redownloading and replaying the Sebastian missions but it does seem a lttle sloppy
- Hawke: Hawke having a voice is a good idea and I’m really happy to have it, Hawke always being human and always having the same background (with the exception of which sibling stays with you) takes away some replay value. I played DAO several times to see how people react differently to you as an elf, dwarf or a noble. In Dragon Age 2 the only reactions I seem to get are about either being a mage or having a mage in my team.
- Costume changes: In DAO you could equip/remove armour from anyone in your party. In Dragon Age 2 you can’t. You can purchase upgrades but their costumes stay the same. Aveline does alter her costume over time and Merrill also changed costume if you start a realationship with her I am not sure if this happens with all companions though. In one of the tips that show as the game loads it mentions that your companions will choose what to wear themselves. It makes sense they don’t need someone telling them what to wear but it seems they all wear the same clothes for the entire duration of the game with the above exceptions(please correct me if I am wrong) would you wear the same clothes for 10years? Even cosmetic changes after every fade to black would be better.
- Romance: It seems that almost every character is bisexual in Dragon Age 2, I don’t have a problem with that and couldn’t care less about the sexual orientation of anyone. My issue is with the romantic interactions (or lack thereof) the story takes place over 10years and in any play through there is a romantic moment once. Even if you invite your companion to live with you they are hardly ever there and have little or anything to say about you or your relationship. You’re companions may discuss it as you walk around Kirkwall and the surrounding areas but it never feels as real as your relationship with Leliana or Morrigan.
- Morrigan: Where the hell is Morrigan? I used a save where I killed the Archdemon but survived by giving Morrigan her demon child, yet she is only mentioned once by Flemeth. To be honest, I expected that Morrigan’s child would actually be Hawke especially after seeing the default female Hawke which looks a lot like Morrigan. I was pleasantly surprised they didn’t go with an obvious plot twist but really annoyed that she played no part in the story whatsoever. For that matter neither did Flemeth(DLC anyone?) The official guide actually hints of this when it talks about Morrigan
- Anders: Of all the characters to make the journey from DAO to Dragon Age 2 why’d it have to be Anders. I just didn’t like him as a character and left him out entirely in DAO and did the same in Dragon Age 2. What a waste of dialogue he isn’t likable as a person whether you agree with his cause or not.
- The obvious set up to DLC: Is it just me or does it seem the game stops just before the really good part starts? I really really really hate cliffhangers or obvious set-ups. It’s cheap writing and should be thrown to the trashheap of writing clichés along with the “it was all a dream” and anything M. Knight Shyamalan writes. I hope Bioware release DLC sooner rather than later or announces the Dragon Age 2.5 or Dragon Age 3 very soon(and it better use more of Morrigan and/or Leliana)
Criticing aside, I still thoroughly enjoyed the game. I played it every spare minute that I had and it is still a brilliant game but it could have been so much better. Combine the story of DAO with the graphics and control of 2 and it is almost perfect.