I've recently been playing through Dragon Age II for the fifth or sixth time. And I have to say, I love this game. I don't get why it's gotten such a bad reputation. My gut feeling says it's probably just because the internet was intent on hating the game from the start, and they would never admit to being wrong. Do they ever?
Anyway, I thought I'd list a couple of reasons why Dragon Age II is fantastic, and certainly a much better game than it's predecessor. And when you've read it, I'd like for you lovely people to vote in the poll. The key word here is after.
Let's get started, shall we?
Dragon Age II has a great story. Yes, I said it. The game has gotten a reputation for having a bad story, however, I don't see it that way at all. In fact, this multi-layered tale is much stronger than the rather generic and bland story of the first game. What makes it so great you ask? Allow me to tell you. I have emphasize one thing first however, which is that Hawke is clearly meant to be a played as a mage character. If you are not a mage, the story loses several of it's strongest points. What are those strong points? Let's have a look.
- A well written Cain and Abel story. This is perhaps my favorite part of the game. The tension and unresolved emotions between Hawke and his younger brother, Carver, is truly worthy of praise. It actually manages to capture the jealousy and envy that can drive a wedge between siblings. Now, again this comes with a couple of strings attached. First off, Hawke has to be a mage. If not, Carver dies in the very beginning of the game. I also think it's important that Carver becomes a Templar, which only happens if you exclude him from your expedition. I think a great deal of foreshadowing suggests that this is "canon". Most importantly the quest "Family History", which reveals how Carver got his name. And there you have it. The two brothers are finally fighting each other. Cain and Abel.
- Another well written story, this time about racism. Who would have thought Bioware could actually write a story about racism in a fantasy world, and make it pretty relevant in our society today? For the most part, that's what they did. Sure, they stumble a few times, but in general, this story about the shipwrecked Qunari, far from their homeland, and the hate and hostility they meet, is pretty darned good. They even have the good sense of writing a quest about conversion to a new religion. In a not-so-subtle way, the city of Kirkwall is the United States of America, and the Qunari are muslims. Had they not handled this as well as they did, it might have turned out pretty foul. Luckily, there are no good or evil men in this tale, only different men.
- A third well written story? That can't be. Oh but it is. What is it this time? I'm not sure if Bioware actually intended this, as this story has gotten far more relevant after the games release. Still, it's there, and it's hella good. The story I'm talking about is of course the main storyline in the game. The conflict between the Templars and the Mages. So let's break it down. The Templars are a limited group of people who crave control over a large amount of people. The Templars are powerful men and women tasked with keeping control over the truly powerful. If this sounds familiar, it's because your living it. The Templars are the government, they are the people tapping into your phones, watching your every move, controlling your lives. That of course makes you the Mages. The truly powerful people. The people they fear. The people who are content living under a controlling government, because you are scared of what happens if you take the safety off.
Wow, that was a mouthful. Safe to say I think the writing and story of Dragon Age II is pretty fucking excellent. But that of course is just one half of a Bioware game. The other half?
I think there's just no way around it. Combat in Dragon Age II is at least one and a half million times better than in the first game. At least. First off, no damned auto attacks. Auto attacks are hella boring. Good riddance. Then of course it's the visceral nature of the combat this time around, it actually looks painful. In a good way. And the most important aspect of combat? It's responsive and a lot of fun. It's just fun to pull off spells that make you feel truly powerful, while still having to think strategically in tough fights. I think they hit a nice cord in that aspect. Your party is supposed to be powerful, so let them be just that. Some fights should be easy, and some fights should be hard. Not just always hard, because then you feel like your controlling a gang of fifth graders against the Roman empire.
That's basically it. Of course the game looks a shit ton better than the first, and the setting is a little more original than forrest country number five thousand and fifty. Reused areas you say? Yeah that's unfortunate, but not as big of a deal as people make it out to be. At least they look great.
So, finally you can answer my question.
Dragon Age II, yay or nay?
(You're a proper cock and balls if you just voted without reading)