Well, I gave it a shot.
After Animasta asked me to at least try the game before criticizing it, I went out and bought a cheap copy of Dragon Age II on Saturday. That is, seventeen dollars cheap, at least. Even then, I think I paid too much for hit. But anyway, fair's fair, and I decided to at least give the game an honest try.
It's bad. I mean, really bad. The gameplay is decidedly Dragon Age (even though tthey apparently had to patch in the auto-attacking after release? What?), which is fine. I enjoyed the first Dragon Age. But god damn, I don't remember the fights in Origins being anywhere near this tedious. People seriously aren't kidding when enemies just fall out of the sky and come in waves. And too many fights are stretched out by too many waves. For fuck's sake, stop spawning, you assholes, I just want to do this quest!
And as for the quests, they range from the fairly interesting to menial tasks that shouldn't even qualify. Tracking down a murderer or hunting down a blood mage I can understand, but finding a random nicknack and turning it in to some random person in town for a pittance of a reward and a hilariously detached thanks? (Seriously, I just returned a woman's remains to you, dude. Why are you treating this as though I just returned your cheap-ass watch?) And this is pretty much all the first act is. Random quests that often mix together (I can't count the number of times I forgot which quest I was specifically on because so many involved either looking for someone or tracking something) until I have enough money to go on the Deep Roads expedition.
For the most part, I played the game on the standard difficulty, and in the rare times it wasn't brain-dead easy, it suddenly spiked into "fuck you" territory. Like a room in a cave filled with spiders, undead, and a lich, all suddenly swarming out of nowhere. After playing that battle maybe seven times, I finally got out of it by the skin of my teeth with only Varric left alive, running through the halls and desperately holding on to those last few precious hit points long enough to be allowed another healing potion.
And that rock demon at the end of the Deep Roads can suck it.
And then there's the faults in the story. I understand that this is all being told in flashback from the recollection of an unreliable narrator (which will make it easy for Bioware to retcon by saying Varric was making shit up), but it just gets weird, especially toward the end of the Deep Roads, when oh, wait, Bethany is dead because Darkspawn. And yes, this is just oen possible outcome of that scene, but just the way it's handled, where it cuts in after five days of hiking through the Deep Roads only to suddenly reveal she's ill. It almost feels like a DM somewhere just expelled Bethany's player from the group and killed the character out of spite.
The whole act is nothing more than an elaborate set-up comprised of uninteresting bullshit with a character death thrown in at the end, because I don't know. It's not even so much that Bethany dies as much as it is the manner her death is depicted. It felt clumsy.
Anyway, after that, I started in on the second act, got as far as Hawke's mansion, and pretty much had enough. I'm pretty sure I know what to expect at this point. Tedious bullshit quests, Hawke's mother gets murdered and turned into a zombie bride (is there a particular reason why Hawke's entire family has to be murdered as they are? I mean, holy shit, guys), and something major happens a the end that leads into Varric's next echange with the interrogator as a lead-in to the following act.
At this point, I've had enough. Maybe my interest is tempered by my knowledge of what's to come (Anders, Orsino, and Meredith all being colossal dipshits, blood mages fucking everywhere), but seriously, this game is just dumb. It's bad enough that I spent fourteen hours running around in the first act mostly doing a lot of nothing before story time in the Deep Roads, but if I have to fight one more wave of bandits falling from the sky, it'll be one too many. Seriously, seventeen bucks is too much for this game.