on October 21, 2013
***WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS***
I originally came into contact with the Dragon Age games due to my friend. She went on and on about a certain elf named Fenris and I was dying to know what she was talking about. And, so, I sat down and watched her play...and thus my addiction began.
Very differently than most other people, I enjoy Dragon Age 2 more than Dragon Age: Origins. Origins felt slow and when I played it, I felt like I was stuck in the castle forever. I wasn't very keen on the looks of the characters or of how hard it was to use a mage. As a result, by the time I got to the second game, I was not fond of mages in the least and still sucked at playing as them. I am a rogue through and through. But that is an opinion and preference and I'm talking about DA2, not Origins. So, I suppose it is best to simply dive right in.
Plot/Story Line: 10/10
I greatly enjoy the storyline of DA2. It isn't as in depth as some would like and I even find it falling short in some areas in comparison to others.
Dragon Age 2 takes place about a fifth of the way through Origins, give or take. In the beginning of Act 1, Hawke (you) and your family are fleeing the destruction of Lothering during the fifth Blight (this is after the beginning cut scene with Varric and Cassandra). After you flee your home and make it to Kirkwall, you spend a year working off your debt to get into the city. When the year is complete, you are looking to make some coin and that is basically the whole goal of Act 1. This act is where you find all of your party members (save Aveline and either your mage-sister, Bethany, or your warrior-brother, Carver) and begin your journey. Act 1 is focused mostly on the Deep Roads Expedition. There are various side quests (like "Bait and Switch," "Tranquility," and "Fools Rush In") that gather who is to be in your party along with simple fighting or find-and-deliver quests that both save up money for the Deep Roads and help to level up Hawke. To cut down on spoilers and save time, you basically save up 50 Sovereigns, complete several quests and then go to Bartrand (Varric's brother) and insert yourself into the Expedition. Who you take in can also affect several outcomes so it is wise to plan your party carefully.
I won't delve anymore into the story to keep from spoiling excessively. As a general overview, there is much time that passes and it all syncs relatively well with its predecessor.
Various Tasks (Quests): 9/10
I know most people find the Quests annoying but, again, I seem to be different. Yes, I will admit that some of the quests are pure Hell. (DO NOT ACCEPT ANY QUESTS FROM THE HERBALIST!! It is just awful!!) There are a lot of quests, however, that can be really entertaining depending on who you take along. For instance, "The Long Road" quest centers around Aveline trying to court Guardsmen Donnic and, though monotonous and a bit tedious, it is very entertaining to see such a woman as Aveline falling over herself and flailing about like a fish. The flirting options are also very entertaining with Aveline, though she refuses your advances. The end result is worth the work and, if you're an Aveline-loving fan, be sarcastic when she says "I don't know how I can every repay you..." (or something to the affect) and she kisses you. I shocked prior-stated friend by disproving her theories of Aveline. Back to the important part--most of the time, who you have on your team can bore or entertain you. With "The Long Road," Isabella is a must-have. Her witty comments are just amazing and her argument with Aveline is priceless. I take Isabella everywhere just to hear how funny she is.
Overall, there are several quests that are very entertaining and some you just wish would end. That's how it goes and every game has those love-hate moments.
Development of Characters/Character Profiles: 10/10
The characters in this are amazing. I love them so much. However, you can tell that this game is geared more towards men than females because of how farther the female story lines are.
The "main" characters (excluding yourself) consist of Varric, Aveline, Fenris, Anders, Isabella, Bethany/Carver and Merrill. "Varric" is a rogue-dwarf and the storyteller of Dragon Age 2 who is always seen with his trusty Bianca. He makes his wonderful reappearance in DA2 by being drug in at the beginning to be questioned about the Champion (i.e. You). You cannot romance Varric. "Aveline" is a woman Hawke meets when running at the beginning of the game. She is a complete warrior type woman and you are there when she loses her husband to the Dark Spawn. You are relatively close to her which is good because she eventually becomes Captain of the Guard in Kirkwall making her a huge asset. You can flirt with Aveline but I don't believe you can be with her. "Fenris" is a former slave and an elf. He escaped his captor Danarius but, as time goes on, you learn that Danrius is still searching for him. He is the quiet one that, being a warrior, is very strong. His story doesn't really evolve until the Second Act in the quest "A Bitter Pill." You can romance Fenris and there are two sexual scenes with him (that I know of). "Anders" is a mage housing an entity known as Justice. He makes his reappearance as the "Grey Warden" in the quest "Tranquility." Anders is the softer type and is VERY easy to romance. You can romance with him often and the results bear fruit very early on in Act 2. He does deceive you so, unless you ask the right questions, you'll never known. "Isabella" is definitely one of the stronger, female characters with an absolutely amazing story line. She is a rogue-pirate who makes her reappearance in "Fools Rush In" at the Hanged Man. Her dealings with the Qun are interesting to say the least. She is very flirtatious and loves to tease others. Out of everyone, her in-game banter is the funniest. But her more feminine side is sad and she has a lot of inner turmoil. "Bethany"/"Carver" is various. If you are a mage, your sister dies but your brother lives. If you are, say, a rogue then the opposite occurs. Overall, Carver has a more defined story addition but neither really matter since you lose them for some time after the Deep Roads. So there isn't much to tell about them. "Merrill" is arguably my least favorite character makes her reappearance early on in DA2. She is a Danish Elf who does use blood magic on occasion. There are two or three quests specific to Merrill and you meet her when executing a task given to you by the Witch of the Waste, Flemeth (who is MUCH prettier in DA2 than in Origins!).
Overall, the characters are interesting and they develop and grow nicely through the prolonged time of DA2.
Cut Scenes (Both Clean as well as Sexual): 10/10
There are many cut scenes in the game which play important roles in the overall point of the game. Cut scenes are mostly used in this as important places and highlight interesting options. As strange as that sounded, basically...they are one of the best parts and what makes DA2 my second favorite game of all time.
The graphics are very nice. But what else would you expect of a PS3? On the PC, the graphics can be set to look more like the PS3's but even unadjusted, they are still very nice. The fluidity of the characters could be a bit improved but it isn't awful. Overall, they heighten the game more than cause problems.
The weapons are nice but I wouldn't say great. With how hard it is to level your character, if you don't put specific attributes is certain places, adding weaponry for some characters can be really hard. They weapons function effectively enough but I just wish they would ease up a bit. Then again, this could just be a person view compared to how it actually is.
There are so many abilities! That is my main thing when I first started the games. I was surprised at how much there was...and then I read into them and learned and pointless some of them were. I won't list any because everyone has their own preferences but there are some that are just not worth adapting--that's not to say that there aren't any amazing ones. There are some abilities that function wonderfully and can make/break a duel. The attribute system is much easier in DA2 than in Origins, in my opinion. Overall, there is more good than bad in this area.
Voice Overs: 10/10
I love them! The actors portray their characters well and some of them are familiar voices that many of us know and have come to love. This is one of the better voice acting-work I've seen. Each character is very distinct and they don't lump together. You know when you see Merrill you'll have a high-pitched panicking voice coming your way versus Isabella's expecting deep, seductive sarcasm. It's very nice to see the lines cut so neatly.
Character Banter (Background, specifically): 15/10
The score goes over for the banter. It is absolutely wonderful! You can find out so much about each character just from the banter or you can have fun little voices making jokes in the background as the time goes by. For instance, if you have Bethany and Isabella on your team, you can eventually hear them talking about Isabella and how she was once married. This is a fact that you don't really know for sure until the background banter. Another example of a more entertaining one is of Isabella and Fenris when Isabella speaks of how slavers sometimes covered the slaves in oil to make them glisten before asking if Fenris used to glisten. The result is strange, disturbing and truly a laugh-out-loud moment. The banter moments are completely worth stopping and listening to.
PC versus PS3: XX/XX
The PS3 version is very nice and I love it's controls much more than the PC--for the most part. The Abilities are easier to access in the PC version rather than the PS3 and it is easier to pause the game in the PC version. I'm not very fond of how the camera and attack units work on the PC at all. You use the right-click of the mouse to both move as well as attack. If you are a mage/archer, you can be attacking an enemy before suddenly running off to that area and into the midst of a fight. They should have had the movement on the left-click and the attack on the right. One of the better features is the loading time. The PC occasionally lags and stops responding on the loading screen but that's only for a few minutes and it isn't a problem with the game play. Meanwhile, the PS3 takes forever it seems to load from place to place! I hate waiting so, on that instance, I prefer the PC.
Overall, they both have their pros and cons. I prefer some things on the PS3 version in comparison to the PC. That's just how it goes. And everyone is entitled to their own opinion. For those wondering what this review was about--it was simply my own little snippet on Dragon Age 2 and what I enjoy/do not enjoy about the game. :)
Best Story Line: Isabella
Best Quests: Fenris
Best Graphics: Varric
Best Weapons: Varric
Best Attributes/Abilities: Hawke (Warrior)
Best Banter: Isabella
Best Voice Over: TIE--Fenris/Isabella
Best Cut Scenes: Fenris
Best Romance (Male): Isabella
Best Romance (Female): Fenris
Best Sex Scene (Male:) Merrill
Best Sex Scene (Female): Anders
Best Line Final Act Line: Fenris
(All of the Best Categories are purely opinionated. They are by no means official and strictly my own views.)