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Dragon Age 2 - Review Avalanche

Discussion in 'Game/SP News & Comments' started by RPGWatch, Mar 9, 2011.

  1. RPGWatch

    RPGWatch Watching... ★ SPS Account Holder

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    [​IMG]Well, the tsunami of Dragon Age 2 reviews has arrived and no doubt NA players are already well into the game. All the reviews so far are positive - some very much so - although I'd say the trend at this (very) early stage is a little lower than Origins. I'm going to highlight a bunch of major sites and then line-list a handful.

    Let's start at the top end, with PC Format awarding 95%:

    To say Dragon Age 2 is BioWare at its best would be a high accolade indeed. It's the proud parent of some of PC gaming's greatest moments, vivid roleplaying worlds that we gamers exchange anecdotes from like the old folks trade war stories. It has set the benchmark high, and fans have set their expectations even higher for this, the sequel to 2009's best RPG.​
    On the other hand, GameSpot has a very positive review but notes several disappointments on the way to 8/10. They point out the combat is "much less tactical" and aren't as impressed with the story as others:

    Dragon Age II is an enjoyable and complex role-playing game, featuring expansive questing in a fantasy world tinged with political intrigue. During this lengthy adventure, you face gigantic dragons, villainous mages, and greedy slavers, all while exercising the power of choice to steer various story elements as you see fit. It's often terrific, even if it doesn't meet the standard set by Dragon Age: Origins. Several areas, such as inventory management and skill progression, have been stripped down in one way or another--a case of developer BioWare inexplicably fixing that which wasn't broken. The story, too, has seen a downward turn, failing to connect its various (albeit excellent) quests to a clear central goal. It's easy to see these and other blemishes because the game that spawned this sequel was so exceptional, and ultimately the superior game. And yet on its own terms, Dragon Age II is still a great experience, depicting a kingdom threatened not by invading monsters, but by the demons of fear and distrust.​
    Eurogamer says 8/10 and, surprisingly, found the new full-voiced Hawke "inert". Still, they obviously enjoyed it and here's some closing remarks:

    For those who stick around, able to forgive the moments when the game spins its wheels, there's a substantial and muscular experience to be had. This game builds steadily to one of the more interesting climaxes in recent memory.

    It's never quite as great as it could be. Nor is it as successful as Mass Effect 2 at pitching itself across genres. Nevertheless, Dragon Age II presents an absorbing, sprawling story encased in blood-stained action RPG armour.​
    IGN's score is 8.5/10 and they say "every modification to the gameplay and structure of Dragon Age II is a clear improvement over the previous game", although I didn't feel their own main text supported that. On linearity:

    I thought the narrative style was to allow for branching storylines, but aside from a few impactful choices, it's actually fairly linear, which is disappointing. Another problem is that the ending is a cliffhanger, which makes it feel more like a prologue rather than a standalone title. The plot is very entertaining though and chockfull of crazy moments that will make you go "OMG" and "WTF." Occasional slow spots can make what you're doing feel pointless, but the ending makes it clear that Hawke's time in Kirkwall is incredibly important to the Dragon Age canon.​
    VideoGamer has the lowest score we've seen so far at 7/10. Like Eurogamer, the companions didn't really grab them:

    But Origins also had its cast to fill the personality quota: Alistair's straight British wit, Morrigan's femme fatale sass. Unfortunately it's when the best original characters from Origins start making cameos that DA2's league of characters begin to feel like the B-team. The sequel's gang are well-developed - each of them has a darker side that becomes clearer in their companion quest - but they're still functional more often than memorable. Varric is the closest you'll find to a likeable comedy figure, as a sort of dwarf hedonist, but he never quite pulls the same punches as an Alistair; he manages to be amusing only in the sense that none of the others really are. Elven mage Merill is brilliantly voice-acted with a neurotic Welsh accent, but again she seems to disappear into the background - partly because of the timid personality, but largely because faint neurosis still isn't enough to make her stand out as an individual character.​
    GameInformer is very interesting with two separate verdicts for PC and console. The console version gets a score of 8.25/10 but the PC version drops to 7.75/10 and the heading is "a port caught in the middle". A snip on that:

    Dragon Age: Origins was one of my favorite games of 2009 - as long as we're talking about the PC version. On consoles, the game was a diminished port of the original, offering only a shadow of the tactical combat that made the PC release so satisfying. With Dragon Age II, BioWare has turned the tables. The sequel's action-oriented battle system is clearly tailored to accommodate Xbox 360 and PS3 gamers, and the hardcore PC faithful (at whom the original title was explicitly targeted) get snubbed with an inferior adaptation.​
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2015
  2. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    It's an Action-RPG. Dragon Age 2 is dead to me. :cry:
     
  3. Marceror

    Marceror Chaos Shall Be Sown In Their Footsteps Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Dragon Age 2 is pretty much what Dragon Age Origins was (was that also an Action-RPG? It had action. It was an RPG. I have no idea, but whatever it was, it was good!)

    Combat has changed in flavor, sure. It looks a lot cooler, that's for sure. I've seen people say that it has turned into a "button-mash" experience, even on the PC. Not for me. I played the demo and now the full game with a lot of tactical pause-and-play. Pausing allows me to better line up my spells for maximum effect, so that's the main reason I use it. If normal mode is too easy, play on hard or even on nightmare. Tactical gameplay increases accordingly.

    I fear that many people are going to write this title off too easily, and miss out.
     
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